Food Access - DLT
One-line solution summary:
Food Access: Distributed ledger technology (DLT) integration for optimising food supply chain communications and transport
Pitch your solution.
Food access relates to the ability to acquire sufficient nutrients for consumption. Where people cannot do this, they suffer from malnutrition, disease and death. Sub Saharan Africa is noted as heavily challenged in this area with Nigeria in particular showing almost 32% of children suffering in this case. The literature links accessibility challenges to the speed of transport, with midstream delays accounting for a significant part of the problem.
Whilst hydra-headed, transportation problems stem from communication between the farmers, transporters and buyers. This is due to the absence of coordinated communication structures that allow transparency and planning with respect to food transport communications.
This project seeks to explore options for addressing this food transport communications challenge by creating a digital distributed ledger (DLT) archetype to promote accessibility; allowing farmers upload transport requirements and transporters to collate and allocate resources for distribution in advance.
What specific problem are you solving?
The problem we are trying to solve is food security and wastage. By setting up a small, scalable business of producing tomato paste, we are preserving a vital food source from wastage whilst also creating employment and teaching people alternative ways of working, living and eating. It will also provide opportunities for the farmers and incentivise them to produce more. Not only that,this simple implementation can significantly reduce wastage due to transport delays, thereby improving the opportunity for food access downstream. Additionally, the predictability of transport demand can help to reduce pricing volatility and increase affordability value for consumers
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
This proof of concept level project is aimed at improving food access by simplifying communications between farmers, buyers and transporters. This simplified communication will lead to an acceleration of transport, reducing wastage mid-stream and increasing the volume of food that will be available for consumption and processing. Under this scoping project, we will focus on the ‘cassava’ crop, which is one of Africa’s staple food sources but also has a very short shelf-life (24-48hrs). Successful trials can lead to upscaling of the application capability to include other important crops, multimodal networks at different nodes. Additionally, the project will support the development of a critical but transparent database to support future policy and research initiatives.
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?
Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Mission Billion Challenge WURI West Africa Prize and your selected dimension.
Project will address the following food access challenges:
- Food accessibility - project will help to improve communication between food farmers and transporters. This weakness in communication creates longer lead times, leading to food wastage and reduced access for consumers.
- Food supply chain resilience - improving communications will help reduce uncertainties in the supply chain and allow for improvements in the ability of participating elements to manage disruptions.
- Data - Fill gaps of critical elements of communications within food supply chains in Africa. Project will initiate action for addressing and tackling food access challenges from a midstream perspective.
Where is your solution team headquartered?Ibadan, Nigeria
What is your solution’s stage of development?
Who is the primary delegate for your solution?
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
There are currently no known competitor in Nigeria offering the same product. What makes this unique is its introducing a different dimension, a new model of transacting business in the food sector which brings key stakeholders and actors together to solve a problem that contributes to food wastage and food insecurity. Project primarily address UN SDG 2 -Zero Hunger. Goals 2.4 and 2c are particularly addressed by the project's actions.
Project primarily addresses UN SDG 2 - Zero Hunger. Goals 2.4 and 2C are particularly addressed by the project’s actions.
Provide evidence that your solution works.
This software was developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield in collaboration with developers in Africa and the Middle East
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
What is your theory of change?
With this project, the main objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of how our intervention can help to improve food access by speeding up communications and transport between partners in the cassava supply chain. As part of the project, we will engage and partner with local farmers and one small food processing company (Formava) to design a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) app that will help to support automate transporter connections and transactions for speeding up the post-harvest to market (processing or consumer) for the cassava crop.
Describe how 'user friendly' your solution is to incorporate into social protection programs and delivery systems in West Africa.
We shall offer the platform free at access to all beneficiaries of the Nigerian social protection schemes. Also, we shall provide our solution to the social registry team and work with them to obtain data on the farmers and stakeholders so that we can also use the resources provided through this collaboration to reach out to different regions of Nigeria.
Explain how your solution is interoperable with existing technologies and open standards.
STFC has extensive distributed ledger technology (DLT) and gamification capabilities at its Hartree Centre. These capabilities and guidance will be critical to the success of the project. The centre’s collaboration with BLOCKTRACK successfully demonstrated proof of concept for a similar project in the car finance industry and these capabilities will be instrumental to defining DLT parameters, hosting data and enabling gamification programming. Additionally, natural language programming (NLP) capabilities within STFC will help to support data conversion and automation. One of digital developers will lead planning for design specification of the application and also data security in line with the UK’s GDPR guidelines. App deployment and software testing will be jointly conducted using STFC’ resources as well as those of an independent developer
How does your solution account for low connectivity environments and for users with low literacy and numeracy levels?
We shall deploy and use solar technology to generate energy to power our equipments and obtain unlimited data connectivity from internet providers and telecoms companies in exchange for publicity and also by incorporating this into their corporate social responsibility.
The platform will use local languages and also utilise voice and video to enable access to those with numeracy and literacy challenges.
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
But we hope to serve over 20 million in the next year and over 100 million in the next five years.
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
In the 1st phase (Oct - Dec, 2020), partners and investigators will host an online workshop to capture specific user requirements for the app design in line with the research objectives.The 2nd phase (Dec 2020 - Feb. 2021) will see the deployment of the app for adoption by farmers and participating firms (Formava Limited). App will be preloaded into compatible mobile phones that will be provided for upstream and midstream partners who may not have access to compatible phones. In the 3rd phase (Feb - June 2021), ongoing data analysis will identify transaction and transport patterns, including post-harvest volumes, destinations, network nodes and pricing variations. Importantly, the emerging data will also help to identify ‘access’ points and how they affect the ability of consumers to acquire food by evaluating key factors like pricing, longevity, sale points and transport modes.The concluding phase (May - June, 2021) will see the formal conclusion of the project, exploring options for an extended scale-up of the prototype and user-ownership structure.
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?
Financial barriers - lack access to local and international funding
Technical - high cost of connectivity and limited/low connectivity linked to poor infrastructure
Legal - navigating and overcoming the legal issues related to intellectual property rights and patents
Cultural - overcoming the resistance from local farmers to new technologies and innovations
Market barriers - controlling cost of operations and operating profitably
How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
Financial barriers - this can be overcome by crowdfunding
Technical barriers can be overcome by accessing free connectivity from providers and by using local talents
Legal - Legal barriers will be overcome by working closely with government and seeking their help
Cultural - overcoming the resistance of local farmers to new technologies and innovations will happen through promotion, education and enlightenment programmes teaching them the benefits to their communities and themselves
Market barriers - through prudent financial, technical and operations management
What type of organization is your solution team?
How many people work on your solution team?
We currently have a volunteering team of twelve people working part-time and volunteering on the project
How long have you been working on your solution?
Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
Seven of our team have PhDs in different disciplines and the rest have minimum of Master degrees in different disciplines. One of our founders wrote his PhD Thesis on Nigeria's Social Protection.
What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?
Centre for Social Protection and Policy Studies
University of Lagos
Federal Ministry of Humanitarian, Disaster and Social Development
Office of the Vice President
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?
What is your path to financial sustainability?
We hope to generate investible funds from our operations which should fund the business. In the first year, we should be able to create a sustainable business that will allow us to raise capital through overdrafts and short-term loans from banks in addition to income generated from selling our services and from our operations.
If you have raised funds for your solution or are generating revenue, please provide details.
We have not yet raised funds
If you seek to raise funds for your solution, please provide details.
We do not yet have a plan to raise fund.
What are your estimated expenses for 2020?
Expenditure profile of costs
- 2 Operational staff in Nigeria @ $200pcm * 9 months (Oct. 20 - Jun. 21) = $4000.00 (# for circa 720hrs of work). Minimum wage for 160hrs is #30000pcm, project rate is circa #50000pcm for 80hrs. Costs include provision to volunteers )
- DLT Prototype development - $8000.00
- Consumables - Purchase of 3 application capable mobiles for users. Including a $200 data subscription fund = $2000.00
- Travel = $4000.00 (Transportation and Accommodation for 4 people in 2021)
- Piloting = $4000.00 Will be scheduled for between December 2020 (online) and May 2021 (physical)
- Marketing - $2000.00
- Software/Licences = $1000.00
Total = $25,000
Why are you applying to the Mission Billion Challenge WURI West Africa Prize?
To create opportunities of informal sector workers and open up the market to new ideas. To mainstream innovative solutions and to solve the issue of food security and enhance people's livelihoods
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Please explain in more detail here.
We shall be willing to create and nurture a learning organisation where we are constantly learning new ideas, knowledge and deepening our skills and competencies. This is what collaborative partnership will guarantee us.
What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?
Food and Agricultural Organisations
Airtel, Global Comm.
Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture and other government departments and ministries