WeFarm.Org: Connecting Farmers Worldwide
At Blyss chocolate, you have seen us talk about the massive problems that face cacao farmers every year. Farmers face unstable weather patterns that threaten to decimate their crops, constant pests, some that now carry new diseases that threaten the farmer’s health themselves, all of which are resulting in lower yields. And that is just while they are trying to grow and harvest their crops. Then, once they have their harvest, farmers are facing challenges like a lack of access to the markets where they traditionally sold their crop! The burdens crushing down on these farmers today are overwhelming, and too much for any group of people to bear alone.
There is something like 500 million small shareholder farmers in the world, and many live on less than 1$ a day. These farmers are often isolated with no ready access to the internet that allows us to so easily connect to one another and to get answers to our questions. When they are faced with rapidly changing climates such as we live in today, it is almost impossible to have the right answer for every question, and a wrong answer out here can mean a crop lost and a livelihood destroyed.
This is where WeFarm.org comes in. WeFarm.org is an organization that is dedicated to helping farmers connect and get the answers that they need to solve problems on their farms, right now, in real time. Here is how it works: “WeFarm is a free peer-to-peer service that enables farmers to share information via SMS, without the internet and without having to leave their farm. Farmers can ask questions on farming and receive crowd-sourced answers from other farmers around the world in minutes.” WeFarm.org. Any farmer with even the most basic cell phone can send a simple text message and ask something like, “Please I need a reason as to why my cacao leave are turning yellow,” and receive a reply back from a fellow farmer who has faced this before and knows the solution for their problem. This isn’t just saving cacao and other crops, this isn’t just allowing people to chat, it is literally saving lives. How marvelous. WeFarm.org is dedicated to connecting people so that they can help one another. Such a simple idea, and so brilliant.
WeFarm.org is founded on three key principles: information improves livelihoods, to connect millions of people, and that peer to peer is a powerful model. By enabling farmers to connect to one another in the way that they have they are empowering them in many cases to take charge of their lives. This service has already gone beyond farmers asking simple questions about a diseased plant that results in them saving their crop, but now they can ask another farmer how to set up a microbusiness. They can learn tips on how to improve crop yield, they can find out ways to more profitably sell their crops allowing for larger returns on their investments. In short, it is improving lives and allowing many to rise up out of poverty. Life changing.
Another of their principles is that they connect millions of people to the information that they need right then to solve problems. “We think that everyone on the planet deserves equal access to information.” WeFarm.org. In an unequal world, WeFarm is doing their part to level the playing field and to give these farmers the chances that they need to succeed. “Smallholders have generations’ worth of farming knowledge to share. We believe that farmers are experts. Now, they have a way to share their expertise. The time has come to give farmers a voice instead of giving ‘top-down’ advice.” WeFarm.org. WeFarm is doing their part to ease the burdens of farmers in our world today and here at Blyss chocolate we wanted to take a moment and highlight their mission and their achievements, and applaud them in their work.