Blog Posts By: Steve Hollingworth


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.


Last month, I had the opportunity to speak with dozens of Grameen Foundation supporters and volunteers during a live web chat. As part of the Grameen Family, you inspire me, and your questions point to issues at the core of our mission.

You asked: Is it truly possible to reach the poorest of the poor with financial services delivered over mobile phones? What will Grameen Foundation tackle next? Why do we emphasize women, and how can we ensure that women are in the forefront of, rather than left behind, the new wave of digital development? 

And that’s just the beginning. Your questions also touched on the role of culture and language in using digital technology for development, and strategies for financial inclusion going forward.

We covered a lot of territory in one hour. But this is an extended conversation, and one in which Grameen Foundation’s country and program leadership are central. 


In our increasingly connected but still profoundly divided world, global income inequality calls out for innovations that benefit the world’s poorest people. In many cases, such innovations start with getting vital financial, agricultural and health information and services to the millions of women and smallholder farmers who make up the majority of the world’s poor.