Article originally published on Farmforce.

Farmforce has embarked on a dual mission: Letting the agtech world know about food’s first mile and how to grow its sustainability through our traceability software as a service (SaaS).

That’s why we’re joining the agtech innovation summit as a partner. To add to that, our CEO, Anne Jorun Aas, will be a panelist in the “Food Transparency & Resilience Powered by Technology” discussion.

In this brainstorming session, she’ll have the chance to share her expertise in the development of a supply chain visibility software for traceable and comprehensive farm management like Farmforce. Most importantly, Anne Jorun will put a spotlight on how the application of technology right from the food’s first mile is paramount for sustainable agriculture.

What is Food’s First-Mile?

If you want to harvest an agricultural value chain for sustainable development, you’ve got to plant the right seed for it. And the seed is called the first mile.

While not being literally 1-mile long, this is the initial segment of your food sourcing operations. To be more specific, the food’s first mile refers to the transfer of a crop from the farm to a local distributor. For instance, when considering the cocoa value chain in Côte d’Ivoire, the first mile ends in a village warehouse, a.k.a. section.

But why is the first mile so crucial for your food supply chain sustainability?

Simply because it’s where the most unsustainable bugs proliferate. There are three major obstacles along the food’s first mile:

  • Poverty: About 2 billion people rely on small farms for their livelihood. These account for most of the world’s poor having an income of less than $2 a day.
  • Child labor: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 70% of global child labor happens in the agri-business industry. And the situation is getting worse. Based on the International Labor Organization (ILO), 9 million children could be drawn into child labor globally by the end of 2022 if we don’t put in place any mitigation plan.
  • Deforestation: The Global Remote Sensing Survey released by FAO last November revealed good and bad news. The good news is that deforestation has slowed down in some areas of the world (i.e., South America and Asia). On the other hand, they found agricultural expansion to have an even higher impact on forest clearance than previously thought. In fact, it accounts for nearly 90% of deforested areas, with new croplands being the predominant driver.

Our Food’s First-Mile traceability software

Tackling the above-mentioned food supply chain problems is the staple of a risks-free sustainable operation. Yet, these challenges are often overlooked by multinational corporations (MNCs) in the agri-business sector because they’re not visible. And you can’t fix what you can’t see, right?

But Farmforce is not showing up at the San Francisco party empty-handed. We’re bringing our agtech software to the conference table to shed some light on the first-mile operation blackhole.

Our agricultural supply chain software gives companies an end-to-end full traceability of what happens in the very first stage of their food supply chain.

So, how does Farmforce sustainably walk the extra food’s first mile?

  • Poverty: Our food tech can forecast farmers’ yields and predict pest or disease outbreaks. This will let growers optimize their resources. To add to that, our data bank builds a financial history for each of the digitized farmers. Doing so, we facilitate their access to microloans, thus unlocking the future development of their farming activity. Ultimately, by digitizing farmers our smart tool boosts their production traceability. As a result, more companies will be willing to buy from them, thus triggering a rise in their income.
  • Child labor: Our data lake connects farmers’ digital profiles with their family members. On top of that, MNCs can perform Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) surveys through our platform. Gathering valuable information (e.g., age, educational level) will help them diagnose any child labor symptoms in advance. In addition, the so-called community facilitators can access Farmforce data to identify any children engaged in child labor as part of their Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS).
  • Deforestation:  Our sustainable food supply chain management SaaS includes a polygon functionality. Field staff (e.g., section delegates) use this feature to generate farmers’ GPS-mapped plots. We’ll then give traders access to the shapefile so that they can upload it onto the Global Forest Watch (GFW) database. By overlapping farming fields with previously deforested areas, you’ll ascertain whether crop production is displacing forests. That’s essential to comply with new regulations enforcing the consumption of forest-friendly products only.

It’s time for the agri-business community to focus on food’s first mile. Farmforce is ready to provide MNCs with food supply chain technology to catalyze their traceability and sustainability.

We’re looking forward to meeting you (in person in San Francisco or virtually) and enjoying this must-take networking opportunity together. Come say hi at Booth 21 in the exhibiton area!