Breaking Down Dimitra’s Connected Farmer Platform: How ‘My Farm’ Helps Smallholder Farmers with Operational Management

A key part of the Dimitra solution is the Connected Farmer platform, a mobile application that will be available to smallholder farmers around the world. At Dimitra, we believe that accessibility to agricultural technology is an integral part of sustainable farming, and the Connected Farmer platform embodies this commitment we have to supporting smallholder farmers. The application’s key functions are designed around making farmer’s lives easier with tools and infrastructure for record-keeping, data collection, communication, planning, and reporting. The first module of this platform is My Farm, an organizational tool used to manage all the operational aspects of running an agricultural business, and in this article we will break down how it specifically tackles issues faced by smallholder farmers.

Smallholder Farming: A Stressful Occupation

A major issue for smallholder farmers everywhere, but particularly those in low-income regions, is time and resource management. Farming is a highly stressful profession, due in large part to the amount of physical labour required to be able to turn a profit, but also because of the vulnerable nature of the job to risk and the pressure of managing a business. In addition to cultivating and maintaining complex biochemical relationships between their soil, crops, and land, smallholder farmers also need to run their own business and often perform or consult on every position within it. Individuals who farm at this scale are not only farmers, but accountants, operation managers, marketing and sales directors, customer support, and responsible for all their employees’ needs, paychecks and schedules. In any other sector it would be ludicrous to expect small businesses to do so much physically and mentally demanding work with so little pay, but it has become the unfortunate standard expected of farmers everywhere. The level of stress associated with smallholder farming often leads to debt traps where farmers are forced to take out loans to try and stretch their time and resources to cover all the aspects of their business that need tending to but are unable to pay them off or thrown further into debt by, for example, an unpredictable weather event. The health outcomes from professions with high-stress levels can range anywhere from the development of chronic mental health conditions to the most serious outcome of increased suicide rates. This devastating trend has been seen amongst farmers in lower-income agricultural regions, like those in India where the farmer suicide crisis has been ongoing throughout much of the 21st century. Between 1995 and 2014 approximately 300,000 Indian farmers committed suicide (1), but this trend can be seen in countries all over the world. A 2018 report from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that the overall suicide rate amongst working adults in the USA increased from 12.9 to 17.3 per 100,000 from the year 2000–2016, but the rates for male (2) ‘Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers’ were more than double this average in just 2012 and 2015 at 44.9 and 32.2 per 100,000 respectively. (3)

How ‘My Farm’ Addresses the Core Operational Needs of Smallholder Farmers

It’s clear that insufficient resources and infrastructure to assist smallholder farmers in organization and management may contribute, in part, to not only less efficient practices but also serious mental health outcomes. The My Farm module of the Connected Farmer platform aims to fill a gap in AgTech where smallholder farmers typically lack the access to affordable operational platforms that larger farms and agribusinesses use to manage all their logistical work. In a nutshell, the My Farm module assists users with farm registration, goal setting, implementing geofences, ordering supplies, managing invoices, managing inventory, managing employees, equipment maintenance, and creating customized schedules. In this targeted approach, Dimitra’s Connected Farmer Platform wants to relieve farmers of a portion of the stress associated with operational management by outsourcing all of those key services to a user-friendly application. The storage of all this data in one secure location also removes any risk associated with data loss, and can be used by different workers or managers across one farming operation to simplify communication. We want the Connected Farmer: My Farm module to act as the accountant and operation manager for smallholder farmers who don’t typically have the disposable income to hire individuals to perform these tasks, and hope that along with the other modules of this platform, farmer livelihoods can be simplified and improved along with the mental health of farm managers. We are working hard to make this application as accessible as possible by making it available to farmers in over 40 countries, and will continue to try and break down barriers by democratizing agricultural technology wherever we can.

Investing in the Connected Farmer Platform

The Dimitra Token Initiative is a way for investors to actively participate in the growth of innovative platforms like the Connected Farmer application, and actively contribute to improving farmer livelihoods. The Dimitra Token will increase in value over time, and it derives its value as a direct result of its utility within the Dimitra Ecosystem. Since the Dimitra token is backed only by its actual usage and not by extrinsic assets, it is critical to model its economic utility, which is more efficient and productive than traditional business models. The Dimitra Token has a capped supply, and offers a simple, easy to stake process via our website. As the Dimitra Token is an ERC-20 based token launched on the Ethereum network, transactions are always verifiable and transparent via Etherscan and the Ethereum blockchain.

Endnotes

1. Basu, D., Das, D. and Misra, K., 2016. Farmer suicides in India. Economic & Political Weekly, 51(21), p.61.

2. Female rates were not calculated due to small numbers.

3. Peterson C, Stone DM, Marsh SM, et al. Suicide Rates by Major Occupational Group — 17 States, 2012 and 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:1253–1260. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6745a1

Our mission is to partner with developing nations to make agricultural technologies more accessible to farmers. https://dimitra.io