Los Angeles, March 1st, 2022 - Smallholder farms produce a third of the world’s food. Yet smallholder farmers - families farming five acres or less - have been cut off from the global economy by recent revolutions in agtech. Their livelihoods, heritage crops and unique legacies of regenerative farming practices are dying out due to global agricultural trends of mass-farming and standardization.
In support of smallholder farmers, the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), The Data Economics Company (DECO), and Terra Genesis International (TGI) are proud to announce the formation of Smallholder Data Services, Inc.. Launched in February 2022 to bring its distributed data platform and related farming applications to the worldwide population of ~2.5bn smallholder farmers, SDS will connect this underserved audience with global brands, and supply large crop buyers with robust technology.
SDS co-founder Hugh Locke, president of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance and instrumental in the revival of cotton farming among smallholders in Haiti, is eager for the platform to advance smallholder farming services, support, and policy; “Smallholder agriculture is one of the largest underperforming segments of the global economy, and SDS represents a significant breakthrough in using data to help smallholders reach their full potential in terms of increased production. This major agtech innovation also tracks the impact of agriculture on the environment, as well as the social impact on families and communities.”
Another SDS co-founder is global regenerative farming expert Tim Tensen, “This is an exciting moment for Regenerative Agriculture as more companies and brands from around the world are taking steps to act from a whole systems perspective and make bold investments in the future of agroecosystems. Web3 technologies like the platform in development by Smallholder Data Services, represent a unique opportunity to support the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and do so in a way that intrinsically develops trust and integrity throughout supply systems, from farmer to consumer. It is our hope that through the appropriate application of technologies, we can support the adoption and long-term success of agricultural practices that benefit all of life.” Tim Tensen is a Partner at TerraGenesis, a firm specializing in defining standards for regenerative farming and improving sustainable farming practices in locations worldwide.
In addition to Hugh Locke and Tim Tensen, Smallholder Data Services’ founders include Frederic “Mac” McCabe, a 40+ year veteran of agriculture and sustainability related early-stage companies; and the corporate leadership team of the Data Economics Company (DECO), who bring their technology and data economics backgrounds from Microsoft, the University of Oxford, and the London School of Economics.
According to DECO co-founder Arka Ray, “We at DECO are excited that the next version of the Lydion DEOS Engine will be used by the Smallholder Data Services Platform to enable smallholder farmers in countries like Haiti to rapidly increase income through the power of digital products. SDS is effectively transforming digital data into a new class of monetizable product, which smallholders will generate from their own farms, along with actual crops. This signals a paradigm shift in the agriculture industry.” Down the line, future developments in SDS’ offering will increase smallholder farmers’ stake in the global economy. DECO co-founder Jennifer Hinkel, MSc reports, “We see the potential to expand into additional tech-enabled products and services, improving participating farmers’ ability to access markets and opening new avenues for embedded financial products to improve and optimize their production.”
The SDS platform was built on DECO’s Lydion Software Engine, the market-leading technology in developing blockchain-based middleware. Enabling companies and individuals to convert their data into valuable digital assets that can be utilized, shared, and transacted in secure, private data vaults and data economic networks, DECO is the operating system for Web3.