We’ve just scratched the surface. The spread of mobile technology combined with remote-sensing data, distributed computing and unprecedented cloud-based data storage capabilities creates new opportunities to bring precision agriculture to poor smallholder farmers and to integrate them into the broader food and financial systems.
Some 500 million farmers cultivating small plots of land are responsible for feeding at least two billion people. Yet, they have been operating largely outside of formal markets. They eat what they grow and sell any small surplus to local markets. The inability to participate in the formal market system reinforces poverty so deeply entrenched that 70 percent of the world’s extreme poor and half of all food-insecure people are farmers.