BLOOOM: Agricultural Technology for the Bottom of the Pyramid


Blooom, a newly founded social enterprise provides innovative digital solutions to connect smallholder farmers to input suppliers and consumers. Smallholders get access to information, financing, local and international markets via mobile phone technology. In this public private development partnership, Swiss support serves to expand Blooom’s services to smallholder farmers in low income countries in which the risks of entry for private sector companies are generally too high, including countries in Africa.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Global
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural services & market
Agricultural development
Agricultural co-operatives & farmers’ organisations
01.02.2019 - 31.12.2023
CHF  950’000
Background

Digital technology can enable farmers to generate reliable yield. While Internet-enabled smartphone use is spreading across most of the developing world, smartphone penetration and limited digital literacy may still prove prohibitive for technological solutions that target individual smallholder farmers.

The digitalization of food chains, the partnership with the private sector and the catalytic effect on private investments are innovations that can influence the future development of many countries, particularly in Africa.

Objectives The overall goal of Blooom is  to contribute to poverty reduction, economic inclusion, food security and improved nutrition of smallholder farmers and consumers , men and women, in low income countries through digital and organizational innovation.
Target groups

Direct beneficiaries of this project are the social enterprises and men and women blooom entrepreneurs.

Final beneficiaries are smallholder men and women farmers and low income urban consumers who will have a better access to healthy food.

Rural service providers, input dealers and transporters will also benefit from this support.

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: farmers’ and particularly women in rural areas increased their livelihood: Yearly farming income increase. 5% annual increase in transacting women.

Outcome 2: farmers climate change resilience improvement through soil health: tons of carbon sequestrated per acre.

Outcome 3: access to healthier food for urban population improved: kg vegetables produces per ha.

Outcome 4: Blooom expansion: Blooom international expansion to other countries in Africa (year 4 and phase 2).

Results

Expected results:  

The digital platform is established and a network of Blooom’s entrepreneurs is active in 4 states in India, in Nepal, and in two additional countries in Africa (starting in the 4th year).

Through this platform, agronomic advices and risk mitigation measures are directly available to smallholder farmers.

Quality inputs are available at a reasonable price, with credits and insurances provided by micro-credit banks and insurance companies.

A network of private service providers buys farmers’ products and sell them directly to the consumer via the platform.


Results from previous phases:   Blooom is a newly founded social enterprise with a culmination of 24 years of combined experience, from the two social enterprises the Swiss-based Fairtrasa and the Indian-based eKutir. These two have brought together their knowledge and experience from several different activities and integrated many of the solutions that so far have been delivered on parallel tracks.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector North


Coordination with other projects and actors BLOOOM will work with a range of rural stakeholders including cooperatives, and service providers, but also with retailers in cities, the financial sector, and the government. Synergies with South Cooperation in the choice of countries and collaborations. Blooom will also collaborate with other SDC projects (RIICE and Nutrition in Mountain Ecosystems).
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    950’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    702’769
Project phases Phase 1 01.02.2019 - 31.12.2023   (Current phase)