Working with Farmerline.org and the BCR Tool

I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with a solid concept and inspirational entrepreneur, the co-founder of Farmerline.org. In the short time I have been working with Alloysius Attah and his dedicated team on expanding his company, a mobile messaging technology company that provides increased access to information and communication pathways for farmers, I am beginning to understand the potential for social enterprises to collect the kind of information important to diverse stakeholders.

As he describes it, the technology is beneficial to the government’s extension agents who need to provide best management practices within its farming industry. The non-profits operating in the area can also use this versatile platform to understand the meaning and depth of their impact through SMS and voice surveys with their beneficiaries. Fish farmers participating in their pilot in southern Ghana can consistently communicate with other agricultural stakeholders to help them increase yield, save money, and connect to the market efficiently.

This interplay of different organizations and stakeholders creates an interesting case for the biocultural resilience tool. As Kevin Jones likes to say, we seek a tool that will “thrill the entrepreneur and satisfy the funder.” Working with Alloy and the team at Farmerline, I look forward to seeing how the metrics for monitoring and evaluating impact can be central to the core business processes of Farmerline.org. As a team, we want to center the platform’s technology around what best enables small shareholder farmers to reach access to market and increase their autonomy in the industry. One of the questions we are all thinking about is what kind of impact metrics align with positive financial success? For now, we are trying to understand the feasibility of this in envisioning Farmerline’s potential trajectory as a sustainable business that maintains its mission to serve the farmers who need the most help reaching supply chains and increasing income. Working hand in hand with both Farmerline and connecting with the investor pool, I am looking forward to understanding the needs of both sides.

While I am still getting familiar with Alloy’s vision for an agriculturally rich Ghana, I think his Skype status, a quote from George Bernard Shaw, sums up the right mindset to follow as an social entrepreneur: “The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” As an entrepreneur, his view is impressively focused on adapting the structures of the technology world to his vision of how he can increase communication and information channels for farmers. Lookout for the next post on our expansion updates! Excited for the next pilot to start in June with fish farmers in the northern region of Ghana. Read about their work here.

– Katie Athaide

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