I would say that we're addressing all 4 of the missions in the objective with this approach - unfortunately I can't select them all.
Its difficult to think of the future when you're too busy trying to put out the fires of today. This is to say that cash, for people who either don't have bank accounts or have bank accounts but live in an unpredictable environment, is the only lifeline. If it is there to use, it will be used for something critical or it will be taken by someone who knows that it is there. The next growing season is a distant thought in the back of the mind of a small scale farmer in contrast to the current weather, feeding his/her family, finding help on the farm, protecting the family and the farm from outside threats.
The aim of the virtual currency is to decouple the farmer's livelihood from their day-to-day emergencies.
In teaching them to exchange currency electronically you also have a side effect of enabling a 2-way information channel.
Thus - if you address the problem in 6 stages, you should simplify the entire process for the most vulnerable members of the supply chain:
- Financial Resources - Remove cash from the equation - Implement a payment system for the exchange of virtual currency via mobile phones. This currency is virtual, traceable and costs nothing to process transactions. More importantly, this cash is released at key milestones and can only spent in certain places - i.e. Seed supply, agricultural equipment, water supply. I would guess that every farmer has at least a basic mobile phone that can be used as an account. If the phone is taken, the virtual currency remains available for the owner to access. Equally, every transaction is traceable using the virtual currency so any misuse can easily be spotted and halted.
- Capital- With the risk of money being misappropriated reduced, you can either manage the distribution of grants or issue micro loans to the farmer that he/she can use to prepare themselves for the upcoming growing season. This loan would be interest free and would smooth the cashflow of the farmer. Again, crucially - this currency would only be accepted in certain locations.
- Access to Information - Now that the farmer is connected and has an adequate source of funds to prepare for the upcoming growing season, you could use the same technology to inform the farmer of inclement weather and allow for 2 way communication between the farmer and you. For example - if you have a number of smaller 'peasant' farmers, each contributing a small share to a co-op, you could understand the yield that was coming by asking the farmer weekly for an update.
- Access to Markets- You could incentivise the farmer by giving him/her a bonus every time they report their projected yield and an additional bonus if they deliver as promised. This allows you to manage your supply chain and ensure that crop can be sold on efficiently. With enough mass in the co-op you have access to wider markets selling the crop with more command over the price and the confidence of your buyers given the new informed nature of your supply chain. Indeed, larger multinationals are reluctant to buy from smaller scale farming operations because they have no visibility or confidence in the security and stability of the supply chain or its adherence to legislation that they have to comply with in their core markets, e.g. Fair-trade.
- Storage & Processing - Operating as a co-op would allow for sharing of resources such as agricultural equipment. This would also allow for the crop to be consolidated and economies of scale to come into effect for investing in processing and storage. More importantly though, the effectiveness of the supply chain would reduce the requirement for storage and processing could be managed on a larger scale. Larger scale buyers would also no be accessible due to both quantities and information around supply chain compliance.
- Finally (and most importantly) - in order to improve the wellbeing of the farmers family - you could issue incentives to the farmer to allow them to access additional funding or bonuses depending on what the goal is. For example - I donate to a charity that pays the families of young girls according to the girl's school attendance. The challenge being that in developing countries, often girls are seen as being less equipped to go to school than boys, so in the case of a family who has to decide between sending their daughter to school or sending their son - often the boy would be sent. However if you remove the cost to send the girl to school also, or you inscentivise the family to send both kids to school, it becomes less of a desperate choice. Using these incentives and creating an ecosystem for virtual currency, you could create an additional network that the farmers family are able to spend 'foodcoin' at the local store, or buy fuel using 'fuelcoin'. Co-ops could effectively form communities and invest in schools, infrastructure and become the catalyst for a micro-economic surge. This currency is non-transferable and fraud or exploits can be reversed.