Cisco Grant Program empowers smallholder farmers with innovative tech
With the help of a Cisco grant, Kenyan-based social enterprise company One Acre Fund has launched a mobile application, the Tupande app, that helps smallholder farmers order and access high-quality seeds and fertilisers. Introduced in April 2022, the Tupande app could reach up to 100,000 Kenyan farming families in the next few years. As the global population increases – it is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050 – and issues of poverty and food security become more prevalent, tech-based initiatives such as this will be crucial in combatting critical global challenges.
“The introduction of the Tupande app wouldn’t have been possible without support from the Cisco Global Impact Cash Grant Program,” says Claire McGuinness, Strategy and Partnerships Senior Analyst at One Acre Fund. “We’re seeing first-hand the impact that technology and digital transformation can have on critical sectors such as agriculture. There are 50 million smallholder farming families in Africa and, while Tupande is only available in Kenya for now, we’re dedicated to scaling the project and bringing this technology to more farmers of the future.”
According to Our World in Data, more than 84% of agricultural producers are smallholder farmers, with farms smaller than two hectares. These farmers produce one-third of the world’s food, but often don’t have enough food to feed their families.
Since 2006, One Acre Fund has been working to get smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa the resources they need to improve harvests, raise incomes, adopt environmentally friendly farming practices, and diversify crops to increase resilience to disasters. One Acre Fund offers flexible financing to help ease cashflow challenges, and also provides training, insurance, and access to other innovative products and technologies.
One of these technologies is the Tupande app. It helps digitise farmers’ procurement processes and make supplies more accessible. The app enables farmers to browse One Acre Fund’s product catalogue, compare prices, view item photos and descriptions, determine what’s in stock at their local duka (Swahili for shop), and order – all from their mobile phones. Due to the app’s efficiency, farmers have more time to manage crops and carry out demanding daily activities.
Driving purpose through technology
Through its Global Impact Cash Grant Program, Cisco offers community partners around the world a chance to address critical social challenges via innovative approaches. Grants go to non-profits and non-governmental organisations that are developing technology-based solutions to solve significant social problems.
“Cisco is proud to support organisations like One Acre Fund that use technology to help reduce poverty, increase food security, and build thriving, resilient communities,” says Shain Rahim, Country Leader at Cisco Kenya. “This is exactly the kind of initiative our Global Impact Cash Grant Program was designed to assist. By enabling smallholder farmers, we’re helping to power an inclusive future for all, which is Cisco’s ultimate goal.”
In 2022, Cisco aided various community-based projects and helped to facilitate equitable access to the knowledge, skills, opportunities, and resources people need to support themselves and their families. The company is dedicated to promoting resilience, independence, and economic security in a sustainable and regenerative economy. Findings from the 2022 Cisco Purpose Report illustrate the company’s commitment to positively impact 1 billion people through social impact grants and signature programs. Already, 848 million lives have been impacted in this way.