From start to finish: a vision of interconnectivity

At the moment, the agricultural industries of African countries exist in relative isolation. Imagine peasant farmers digitally connected to the value chains of the global food industry. How could this happen? A guidebook.

 

Ich bin ein Alternativtext
Baden-Württemberg, Waldenbuch: "Ritter Sport" is one of Germany`s biggest confectioners. Photo: Christoph Püschner/Agentur Zeitenspiegel

Tanja Reith

Tanja Reith is a solution manager for the Agribusiness vertical in the SAP Industries organization. She has over 20 years of experience in go-to-market and solution management roles for enterprise software, engaging closely with customers and partners across different industries such as agribusiness, consumer products, and financial services. Tanja’s ambition is to drive shared value resulting in business value to our customers while making a social impact and improving people’s lives.

 

When eating their chocolate bar in the afternoon, maybe together with a cup of coffee, people always tasted and enjoyed the flavor of both, but they usually did not think about the origin of the cocoa or coffee beans. Where and how were the beans harvested? How did they make their way from a cocoa plant in e. g. Ivory Coast to the supermarket shelf in Berlin? Did the farmers who originally planted the trees and harvested the fruit get a fair price? Can we be sure that children did not suffer from spending their time in unpaid harvesting work instead of going to school? This has changed: more and more socially conscious end consumers are looking for answers to these questions and consider respective certifications when they buy their preferred brand.

 

70 percent of the global cocoa produce comes from West Africa, mainly Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

 

This change in end consumer behavior is a key driver for consumer goods companies to increase the transparency and traceability of their food products – even across company boundaries. Let’s stay for a moment with the chocolate example: 80% to 90% of the world cocoa production comes from 5 to 6 million smallholder farms. 70% of the global cocoa produce comes from West Africa, mainly Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. How can chocolate producers and consumer products brands obtain visibility and prove that the ingredients in their products are a result of sustainable farming and certified? How can they connect with smallholders being the very first supplier in their agricultural supply chain and integrate them into the value chain?

 

To help address this challenge SAP launched in 2017 SAP Rural Sourcing Management, a mobile technology solution supporting and growing smallholder famers in developing countries connecting them with global producers and providing transparency, accountability, and access to financial services. A predecessor of the solution was developed and piloted by an SAP research division, in a development partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The project was conducted under the framework of the develoPPP.de program on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). As a next step SAP and Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, cooperated in a custom-development project helping Barry Callebaut enable sustainable cocoa farming, before the solution finally became generally available.

 

(c) Foto SAP
Tedious work of harvesting, Photo: SAP

SAP Rural Sourcing Management is a cloud-based solution for enhanced management of sustainability data through digitally recorded information on producers, their farms, and their communities at every level of the value chain. Field agents collect data on farmer registration, purchasing and processing of produce, and transportation records. These field agents can work for local cooperatives, local or regional producers but also global traders or producers who want to directly connect with the smallholder farmers as their original source of agricultural commodities. Now how can the SAP Rural Sourcing Management solution help smallholder farmers to connect with the value chain of agricultural commodities and what is the related (social) impact?

 

The app also allows the integration to cashless payments, as well as access to information about the transactions.

 

Let’s look at the example of Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust, one of our customers in Uganda representing smallholder oil palm growers in Kalangala district in Lake Victoria. Deliveries of fresh palm oil fruit bunches are recorded by an employee using a registered smartphone. The confirmation of delivery and payment can then be sent to the farmer’s private phone by SMS. The app also allows the integration to cashless payments, as well as access to information about the transactions. The organization can simplify its administration processes and tremendously increase its data availability and accuracy. This will help to cut administration . In addition to the direct business impact for the organization, the project also opens smallholder farmers the doors to financial institutions allowing access to agricultural input loans or financial services including . Banks and insurance companies are starting to use data recorded by the app as a “track record” and proof of income. Input loans such as seed and fertilizer will help smallholder farmers to increase yield and with that achieve a higher and secured income enabling them to pay school for their children and improving their livelihoods.

 

SAP is supporting the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals across the 25 industries that SAP is serving. For the agribusiness industry, UNSDG #2 Zero Hunger seems like a big goal, especially as experts estimate food production must grow by 70 percent to feed 2.2 billion more mouths by 2050. SAP offers a designated solution portfolio for this industry and SAP Rural Sourcing Management is one of these solutions. SAP agribusiness solutions are designed to help our customers in different segments and different geographies to increase sustainability as well as food safety and food security. The solutions help to carefully manage the entire food supply chain from farm to consumer with the support of new digital technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence or machine learning.

 

Here is an example how cutting-edge block chain technology can improve transparency and food safety and at the same time help e. g. fishermen in Indonesia to improve their incomes and lives: One of the largest seafood companies and SAP customer Bumble Bee Foods, provides seamless transparency for their tuna products, from the handline on the boat to the plate of the consumer. Bumble Bee’s consumer app links the individual tuna can with essential information about species, population size and associated quota allowance, catch method, potential by catch, and whether the fisher is even Fair Trade Certified. Stories about community engagements, book donations, or providing safety equipment offer insights into how this type of sustainable supplier engagement creates positive social impact for the local villages. Since 90 percent of the capture fisheries comes from small-scale fishers, Bumble Bee allows consumers to buy the impact they want to make.

 

These are just a few examples how in a digitized world, enterprises are connected with every part of their supply chain – up to smallholder farmers in developing countries reaching the bottom of the pyramid. If you want to learn more about SAP agribusiness solutions or SAP Rural Sourcing Management, you can find more information on www.sap.com or contact agribusiness@sap.com.

Über den Autoren

Tanja Reith

Tanja Reith is a solution manager for the Agribusiness vertical in the SAP Industries organization. She has over 20 years of experience in go-to-market and solution management roles for enterprise software, engaging closely with customers and partners across different industries such as agribusiness, consumer products, and financial services. Tanja’s ambition is to drive shared value resulting in business value to our customers while making a social impact and improving people’s lives.

Alle Beiträge zum Autor

Go back

Similar articles

(c) Thomas Trutschel/BMEL/photothek

Rethinking funding

By Anna Sophia Rainer

Peasant farmers tend to fail due to bank credit limits. But investment could help them generate a sustainable income. This has given rise to an intense discussion about potential digital solutions.

Read more

Graphics: Africa's digital disruption

What Africa is experiencing in the course of digitisation is a disruption. Here three steps are taken in one, there you remain. In any case, the changes are enormous and bring some surprises. A graphic walk.

Read more

(c) Joerg Boethling/GIZ

What it takes now

By Heike Baumüller

Artificial intelligence, big data and blockchain are the hottest topics of our time. The digital transformation of the African agricultural sector is ready for take-off. What will it take for the future of technology to hit the ground running?

Read more

(c) Foto Privat

Story: In Blocked Chains We Trust

By Solomon King Benge

It is 2080. We are on a farm somewhere in Africa. Everything is digital. The blockchain is an omnipotent point of reference, and the farm is flourishing. But then, everything goes wrong. A dystopian short story, written exclusively for SEWOH.

Read more

(c) Katapult/GIZ

The digitised farmyard

By Jan Rübel

Lots of apps are entering the market, but what really makes sense? For African agriculture, some of it seems like a gimmick, some like a real step forward. So this is what a smallholder farm in Africa could look like today - with the help of smartphones, internet and electricity. 

Read more

(c) Joerg Boethling/GIZ

"We are not Uber for tractors"

Interview with Jehiel Oliver

Jehiel Oliver was a successful consultant. One day, he quit his job in investment banking to become a social entrepreneur. His mission: tractors for Africa. Rental tractors. What gave him that idea? Find out in his interview with Jan Rübel.

Read more

(c) Klara Palatova/WFP

A global signpost: What way is the market, please?

By World Food Programme

There is a clear global task: We need to feed nine billion people by 2050. We, the people of Earth, must produce more food and waste less. That is the top priority of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), too - the description of a challenge.

Read more

(c) Michael Bruentrup/DIE

News from the starting block: Changeover

By Michael Brüntrup

The region of Sub-Saharan Africa is on the decisive verge of a great development boost in farming: it could skip entire generations of technological development. But how?  About possible roles and potentials of digital services.

Read more

Ebay Against Hunger

Small holders around the world are often forced to sell their harvests below market value due to a lack of market and pricing information. A new app by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is going to change this.

A project of WFP

Read more

Indonesia / Borneo, March 2000: North of Palangkaraya are the base camps of illegal loggers in the middle of the devastated landscape. (C) Christoph Püschner / Zeitenspiegel

Video diaries in the days of Corona: Voices from the ground

By Sarah D´haen & Alexander Müller, Louisa Nelle, Bruno St. Jaques, Sarah Kirangu-Wissler and Matteo Lattanzi (TMG)

Young farmers’ insights on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa @CovidFoodFuture and video diaries from Nairobi’s informal settlements.

Read more

(c) Privat

The 'Grey Gold'

By Maria Schmidt

The Cashew Council is the first international organisation for a raw material stemming from Africa. The industry promises to make progress in processing and refining cashew nuts - and answers to climate change

Read more

Frank Schultze / Agentur_ZS

Video: Visions in agriculture

By Frank Schultze and Jan Rübel

At the beginning of December 2018, AGRA's board of directors met in Berlin. The "Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa" ​​panel discussed the next steps in their policy of modernizing agriculture. How to go on in the next ten years? One question - many answers from experts.

Read more

(c) Privat

Borderless food security

By Christine Wieck

Enabling smallholders to trade across regions and borders promotes food security and economic growth. Although everyone is calling for exactly that, implementation is still difficult

Read more

KLAUS WOHLMANN / GIZ

Wanted: German investment in African agriculture

Stefan Liebing is chairman of the Africa Association of German Business. The manager calls for a better structure of African farms. Jan Rübel asked him about small farmers, the opportunities for German start-ups and a new fund.

Read more

A different Green Revolution in Africa

African agriculture is currently facing massive challenges. Due to continuous population growth, rural income must be dramatically raised and agricultural yields must increase sustainably despite climate change. What is the best way to manage this situation? Who are the main stakeholders to ensure socially responsible changes?

Read more

JOERG BOETHLING / GIZ

Continent in an uptrend

By Dr. Agnes Kalibata

Partnering for Africa’s Century: Innovation and Leadership as Drivers of Growth and Productivity in Rural Areas

Read more

Joerg Boethling/GIZ

‘The Green Revolution reaches its limits’

Stig Tanzmann is a farmer and adviser on agricultural issues at ‘Bread for the World’. Jan Rübel interviewed him about his reservations about AGRA's strategy.

Read more

KLAUS WOHLMANN / GIZ

’Farmers are smart’

By Jan Rübel

From the lab to the masses: Maria Andrade bred varieties of biofortified sweet potatoes which are now widely used all over the continent. She sets her hope on the transformation of African agriculture.

Read more

Karel Prinsloo/Arete/Rockefeller Foundation/AGRA

'Nutrition is a human right'

Joe DeVries is a breeder – and Vice President of AGRA. What are the chances and risks of a ’green revolution‘ in Africa? A discourse between Jan Rübel and him about productivity, needs, and paternalism.

Read more

(c) Nina Schroeder/World Food Programme

Policy against disasters

Interview with Thomas Loster

Insurance companies could provide protection during droughts in Africa. How exactly this could be done is what the industry is currently trying to figure out. First experiences are available. An interview with the Managing Director of the Munich Re Foundation, Thomas Loster

Read more

An opportunity for the continent

By the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Africa’s population is young and ready to take its destiny into its own hands. Agriculture offers amazing opportunities in this regard. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wants to support the next generation in this way.

Read more

Answers from the youth: "Leave or stay? That depends on it!"

GIZ study; conducted by Geopoll

Does Africa's youth want to live in the city or in the country? Which career path seems particularly attractive? And how optimistic are the young people about the future? Young adults from rural areas answered these questions by SMS.

Read more

“Corona exposes the weaknesses of our nutritional systems"

Interview with Arif Husain (WFP)

The United Nations plan a Food Systems Summit - and now the Corona-Virus is dictating the agenda. The Chief Economist of the UN World Food Programme takes stock of the current situation: a conversation with Jan Rübel about pandemics, about the chromosomes of development - and about the conflicts that inhibit them.

Read more

Developing countries hit doubly hard by coronavirus

By Gunter Beger (BMZ)

In most African countries, the infection COVID-19 is likely to trigger a combined health and food crisis. This means: In order to cope with this unprecedented crisis, consistently aligning our policies to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is more important than ever, our author maintains.

Read more

Good health is impossible without healthy food

By Heino von Meyer

Corona makes it even more difficult to achieve a world without hunger by 2030. So that this perspective does not get out of sight, Germany must play a stronger role internationally - a summary of the Strategic Advisory Group of SEWOH.

Read more

© GIZ

Resilient small-scale agriculture: A key in global crises

By Kerstin Weber and Brit Reichelt-Zolho (WWF)

Biodiversity and sustainable agriculture ensure the nutrition of whole societies. But there is more: These two factors also provide better protection against the outbreak of dangerous pandemics. Hence, the question of preserving ecosystems is becoming a global survival issue.

Read more