Starting work with Smallholdr

Twin is working with agri-data management system organisation, Smallholdr, to support cocoa farmers in the Gola Rainforest, Sierra Leone.

Developing ‘forest friendly’, premium cocoa value chains from Sierra Leone is a project delivered by Twin in collaboration with the RSPB and Gola Rainforest Conservation LG, with support from IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, Divine Chocolate and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (through Rainforest Alliance). The project supports a new cooperative, Ngoleagorbu, of nearly 2,000 farmers from 84 forest edge communities based around and within the Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone.

The farmers are working together to produce and sell high quality ‘forest friendly’ cocoa, while preserving the rainforest and its wildlife. In addition, Ngoleagorbu is currently working towards Fairtrade and Organic certification. Twin provides overall management of the project and delivers support and expertise through our six-pillar approach and our trading arm, Twin Trading, provides access to markets and pre-finance.

As part of this project, Smallholdr will work closely with partners to create a bespoke mobile app and cloud-based platform that will be owned by the members of Ngoleagorbu. It will be developed to meet the farmers’ needs and help them manage their business efficiently, as they grow their capacity.

The app will provide tools to achieve digital traceability of the cocoa useful which is useful for certification bodies, buyers and end consumer. In the customisation stage, Smallholdr will work with the farmers to understand what other data can add value to the overall business. For example, data on crop diseases, input availability and costs, weather, local competition and industry dynamics could all be valuable information.

The Smallholdr team will visit Sierra Leone later this month to meet with project stakeholders. They will speak to those that will use the app to understand their requirements and tailor the platform to primarily serve the needs of the farmers and not certification requirements.

Twin advocates for farmer ownership of data and systems. With this pilot we hope to empower the farmers of Ngoleagorbu to have access to meaningful real time data which can inform decisions and interventions.

New technology can play a useful role in agriculture, so we’re pleased to be working with Smallholdr and testing how agriculture data management can create impact in our work.

Twin is very open to partnering with organisations to test innovative solutions. We are especially interested in solutions that give farmers and producer organisations insights and information which enable them to improve farming methods and develop business practices.