Micro Investing could scale to a very large number of participants if a good model is established ahead of the international rollout. A ‘franchise-like’ method of entering new districts and countries would reduce costs compared to single-project interventions and provide the structure and consistency needed for digitalisation.
Scaling across districts and countries in parallel would create a bigger opportunity for suppliers of inputs and drive the down supply-side cost for the farmer. By contextualising the concept for several markets, a rich pool of knowledge can be built around a robust core concept under continuous improvement.
Scaling geographically based on a shared model with coordinated roll-out teams and appropriate information sharing would mobilise smallholders towards meeting SDG 1 and 2 at large. Long-term funding for an international program would shield the roll-out teams from the interruptions often experienced in short-term project funding.
As each farmer expands the range of products and capabilities, new opportunities arise for logistics and off-takers linking producers to urban markets. Farmers can form clusters that produce graded products for larger off-takers, leading to import reduction and export. As farmers lift themselves out of poverty, their value creation will result in new jobs. It is a well-established fact that small commercial farms create demand for local, non-tradeable goods and services. They become the foundation and drivers of rural economic development.
Input from agronomist surveys and mobile payment transactions will generate big data that can be used for analytics and automation. Prices, demand forecasting, capacity planning and logistics can be based on data for each site in combination with data on the average performance of the investment kits. With community meetings as an arena for both data collection and feedback, even farmers without mobile connectivity can effectively be reached with information that is vital to their choice of crop and planting schedule.
By structuring data, activities and methods, we lay the foundation for an efficient rollout of the concept in spite of multi-layered organisation. Based on a standardised model, shared data and a digital platform, the support offered to full-time project managers can be provided effectively. These managers support a team of agronomists that use farmer meetings as the main point of coordination. A clear separation between the externally funded NGO intervention and the market-based activities allow us to manage the NGO exit and hand over to its non-commercial partners step by step.