Did you know?
97% of the world's farmers are smallholders/non-professionals. Their income is 1% to 5% of their Western counterparts. For example, smallholders’ income from mango growing is $500 vs. $50,000 per hectare of professional Israeli growers.
We learn from this that AgroTech’s impact on the livelihood of smallholders is insignificant.
The result: 550 million smallholders and the 2.2B people whose livelihood depends on agriculture live in poverty and suffer.
Can this be different? Can we change these statistics by creating prosperity for millions of smallholders based on sustainable business principles?
Can we turn the agro sector in non-developed economies attractive to investors?
To rid poverty and create prosperity, we need to reduce the economic gap between smallholders and Western farmers.
To do this, we can't keep comparing things to what we know and see now, the industry standard, which would only lead us to a long list of “impossible,” as presented below.
97% of farmers need a well-designed method, a blueprint to a system that would advance their business in a giant frog leap. This is in line with what investors love to see. It’s good for all.
Hundreds of millions of farmers live in poverty because of faulty assumptions, concepts, and “truth.” To create economic prosperity, we must avoid falling into the “dogma trap.”
Let's start by listing some of the current assumptions, which I like to refer to as “the impossible list” –
» Two years is insufficient time to double smallholders’ income.
» It takes $ billions to transfer smallholders from poverty to prosperity.
» Smallholders cannot excel in high-added value crops, e.g., mangos.
» Small farms are not economical and can’t be profitable.
» Smallholders need to imitate "professional farmers."
» Smallholders need to use more chemicals and technologies.
» There is no effective crop protection without sprays and chemicals.
» Without sprays, farmers will lose their yields and income.
» For more food, we must use more fertilizers.
» Smallholders are a burden on the national economy.
» There can’t be “a formula” to transfer farmers to prosperity.
» Charity organizations and philanthropists should help smallholders.
» Smallholders pose an unbearable risk for investors.
» High profits and smallholders are an oxymoron.
» No unicorn will come from working with smallholders.
“Impossible lists” are precious because you immediately know you have done something significant and valuable when you exceed them.
Such lists are also a reminder of other things that, until not too long, were "impossible - a car, computer, cellphone, landing on the moon, etc.
Look around you, everything is man-made, and everything was once “impossible.” The world changes thanks to those who believe in turning the "impossible" into "possible." To which group do you belong?
I LOVE REALITY AND IMPROVING IT THROUGH INNOVATION
How can one “shatter” the above myths, "truth," concepts, dogma, and assumptions?
With facts, reality, and field-proof examples.
How do we know that a new chapter began in the days of smallholders in Africa and beyond?
By looking at reality facts!
Will it be sufficient if I demonstrate the above using a “marginal/minor crop"?
No! I want to see "the significant change," "the new chapter," presented in a major crop, widespread, with high business potential, one already cultivated by millions of farmers.
Will mango, avocado, and citrus be acceptable for that purpose?
Yes. But start with mango.
Because everybody already has mangos but also has sleepless nights because of it.
Because fruit flies "steal" 50% of our yields. When harvest time arrives, our mangos are massively infested. Then we can't export; we can't even sell locally, other than processing. And as you know, fresh fruit processing provides the lowest profit for the farmer and the value chain.
OK, I see. Very challenging. Anything else?
Sure, make the above “impossible list” vanish.
Make mango infestation go down to zero / export quality, and do it without a single spray!
Hmmm… OK! Anything else?
Increase my income per hectare by 25%. No, make it 50%.
Yes. Since we were talking about “impossibilities,” I want my income to increase not by 50% but to double (200%), and do it in less than two years!!!
I see. It’s not a short wish list! If you see that happen, will it prove that "the new chapter” works well?
Oh, more than "proof," it would prove miracles still happens. Furthermore, I will believe that it is possible with any crop if you can do this with mango. What else can I wish for???
Next, we will see why you should search for the "impossibles" and what happens when you challenge those and turn them into "possible." In short, this is how we change the world.
ZERO-SPRAYS & EXPORT QUALITY
Fruit flies infest 50% of mango yield but are also quarantine pests, meaning they can’t be present at all, zero, in fresh mango export shipments.
Is it possible to reduce such high infestation to Export Quality and to do it without sprays?
Though it sounds impossible, that is precisely what the company, Biofeed, did in 1997 after it won the Grand Challenges Israel competition set by the Israeli Innovation Authority and the Israeli Ministry of Economy.
Biofeed presented a 100% decrease in sprays and a 97% in fruit fly infestation, later improved to 99.9% in the mango orchards of India. A year later, Biofeed repeated that success in several African countries.
Video links representing that Chapter -
♥ India - Grand Challenges Israel
♥ Africa - the story of Yacuobuo
♥ Africa - a dream come true
With this, a long series of ageless concepts proved to be baseless and complete fiction in one moment.
Look again at "The Impossible" list; how many have we proved wrong by now?
On a positive note, and among others, we proved that -
» The use of sprays can be reduced by 100%.
» Infestation by quarantine pests can be reduced by 99.9%
» Smallholders can be provided with advanced technology that suits them.
» Smallholders’ produce can be of - higher quality - than that of professionals.
» Smallholders can double their yield in less than two years.
» Smallholders can double their income in less than two years.
» Smallholders’ livelihoods can rapidly improve when growing high-value crops, e.g., mango.
» Smallholders can supply export quality of high-added value crops, e.g., mango.
I hope you are now thinking, "A lovely quiet revolution. When can I see it in my country? What should I do to “bring it home”?”
After ensuring it is technically possible to produce mangos at Export Quality, with no issues of queries, pests, or chemical residue issues, it was time to take it to the next step.
Now we asked, can we do the same, but this time with hundreds of smallholders?
Can we impact the entire village/s the way we did with individual farmers? And, I dare to ask, will this impact the national level?
Coincidence brought us to examine these questions, and others, in Senegal.
THE SENEGAL’S CASE STUDY:
Background: Senegal's mango industry began in 2000 and quickly grew to 25,000 hectares, employs about 25,000 people (nearly half of them women), and produces about 150,000 tons. Like other African countries, Senegalese mango growers suffer 50% fruit fly infestation.
In 2020 Senegal exported 13,000 tons to the EU. Infested fruits were intercepted in some shipments, which risk jeopardizing future mango export to the EU.
This exposed Senegal's second Achilles heel; a short export season (6-8 weeks), ending when rains begin, and fruit fly infestation may reach 100%.
2021 SEASON – THE WORLD OPENS TO EXPORT
It wasn’t a secret; I knew of Senegal’s mango industry’s weak points. Hence, the 2021 season was dedicated to seeing if we can:
» Run area-wide projects over many villages and communities.
» Organize hundreds of smallholders.
» Keep top Export Quality results.
» Sign business agreements with those farmers.
» Overcome the local logistics.
To keep the focus, we DIDN’T include issues that were not viewed as “critical” or had already been developed/studied, e.g., business model, logistics and shipment from the packinghouse, etc.
It made me believe that hard work can create “miracles." Once again, we broke all the myths, misbelieves, and wrong concepts. Meanwhile, we achieved the following results:
» Mango exports to the EU increased from 13,000 tons to 24,000 tons (and 28,000 tons, according to other reports).
» Interception of infested fruits by EU authorities dropped by 50% (although volume doubled).
» Farmers doubled (and often more) their marketable yield.
» Farmers doubled (and often more) their income per hectare.
» Export is possible for over 16 weeks (May to late September).
If you read this, you know that we have achieved all our goals and turned the “impossible list” into dust. No more impossible. Everything is possible; we proved and delivered that.
Farmers spoke about this, it was on the news, and it was all over –
farmers doubled their income, and Senegal doubled its mango export in under two years.
Wait, but didn’t you say this is IMPOSSIBLE!?
There was no need for decades, investments of hundreds of $ millions, GMO seeds, chemicals, or other shapes of “inventing the wheel.”
Well, there was one new “5th element”, a novel business model, AND a breaking-through technology enabling crop protection without sprays.
In 2021, many myths were broken, and DREAMS came true, using Mangos as a business model.
I understand you, leaders, business people, impact VCs, etc.; for decades living in a reality that investing in the agro sector in non-developed economies is risky, to say the least.
We want you to invest in smallholders, in non-developed economies, so we changed everything for you. Now you can work/invest and do good to farmers, the environment, and consumers, with a peaceful mind, knowing your investment is doing better than any alternatives.
Now everybody knows you can. Then, just do it.
In 2022 Dream Valley / Biofeed did not operate in Senegal. According to newspapers, Mango exports to the EU dropped to 12,000 tons with many interceptions of fruit flies (about 20).