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The impact of our adoption model

At CrowdFarming, our main motivation is to address inefficiencies in the traditional agri-food chain that particularly affect farmers and the environment. You will see that our adoption model, whether it is a tree, a plot of land or an animal, addresses economic, social and environmental challenges.

Balancing supply and demand

One of the main characteristics of the agricultural sector is that farmers produce blindly and by inertia, without knowing how much demand there really is or at what price they will be able to sell their crops. In Spain, for example, an orange farmer is paid ten times less than the price at which oranges are sold in supermarkets. 

Moreover, by balancing supply and demand, we reduce food waste considerably. In fact, market conditions can lead farmers to throw food away: If the market price is lower than the cost of transport and labour, farmers may leave their crops unharvested. This practice, called dumping, occurs when farmers produce more of a product than people are willing to buy, or when demand for a product drops unexpectedly.

Our adoption model allows the farmer to grow and harvest their produce with prior knowledge of demand and the final selling price (set by the farmer themself), and guarantees it season after season. Thus, the farmer is no longer dependent on market fluctuations, which provides economic stability.

This last point enables farmers to participate in the economic development of their rural area. They have the resources to provide work for people who live in a specific rural environment and who do not have many employment opportunities. For example, Laura from Proyecto los Aires, a family-run olive farm in Toledo, Spain, was able to hire Ismael full-time, who is now happy to prepare crates of olive oil for consumers all over Europe. 

Decommoditising agricultural products 

In traditional retail chains, such as supermarkets, the consumer often has little information about the origin of products when making a purchasing decision between different products or outlets, such as harvest date, cultivation method, variety, etc. The final selling price then becomes the price of the product. The final selling price then becomes a differential factor in this decision. This homogeneity of the market leads to a lack of interest on the part of farmers in offering differentiated products, so that productivity and selling price become the main elements they take into account when determining their cultivation techniques and methods. 

Moreover, according to a recent EIT Food study, 76% of Europeans claim to be motivated by a sustainable lifestyle, but only half of them (51%) take sustainability into account in their food choices. This indicates that there is a gap between consumers who want to make choices to protect the planet and those who actually change their lifestyle.

Through the adoptions, the farmer is incentivised to offer the best possible quality product to the CrowdFarmers (consumers on the platform), as they finally have all the necessary information about the product, the farmer and the farm they want to support. In this way, the farmer can also have an insight into the upcoming harvest season and the associated demand, allowing them to invest in sustainable farming techniques.

Decoupling production maximisation as a decision driver 

The sole focus on production volume can work against other factors such as nutritional and organoleptic quality of the product or sustainability.

The varieties produced are becoming smaller and smaller, as the market (yield and price) dictates what should be planted, even when it is not necessarily the best adapted to the climate or the best quality species. By narrowing down the varieties and ignoring those that are more appropriate for different climates, the risk to pests and weather can increase, and the use of pesticides can be incentivised.

Our adoption model means that farmers are no longer driven solely by market trends. This financial stability and foresight allows them to invest in more sustainable farm management, while contributing to the development of their rural areas. 

Giovanna is a communication expert. Food, agriculture and sustainability are her areas of interest and competence. She is also passionate about music and she loves to debate about how to find sustainable solutions for the future, over a glass of wine (from Bordeaux if possible).

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