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AgUnity Response: Creating resilient food supply chains in the face of COVID-19

A technology platform enabling farmers to safely connect with buyers and ensure uninterrupted food supply chains worldwide.

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AgUnity has spent the last four years developing award-winning technology designed to help and assist smallholder farmers worldwide. Our unique approach on developing technology hand-in-hand with the very farmers who use it has enabled us to gain a significant insight into the daily lives and challenges encountered by many farmers in Africa, SE Asia, and Oceania, and how digital solutions can help transform these challenges into opportunities.

Today, with COVID-19 causing massive disruption to global food supply chains, while simultaneously increasing demand from people who need a safe way to get healthy produce, farmers are particularly affected due local market and restaurant closures. With AgUnity’s newly developed initiative, ‘AgUnity Response’, this new enterprise will help farmers in any country, connect directly with buyers through our digital platform, which includes contactless delivery and payment.

AgUnity Response is adapting our existing solution allowing farmers to continue business, increase their income and reduce food waste. And, by ordering produce online from farmers, it greatly reduces the consumers risk of being in public spaces and supermarkets, as well as continued access to food by those in emerging markets.

What is the need are you focusing on?

AgUnity Response focus is keeping small farmers in the food supply chain allowing them to continue business, increase their income and reduce food waste.

https://bit.ly/3aRGtdq

The COVID-19 pandemic is already directly affecting food supply chains and the capacity to produce and distribute food has become an issue. Local markets that farmers visit each week have been shut down or have limited spaces from reduced number of stalls. Farmers have lost business due to social distancing requirements and need a way to get back into the food supply chain.

This solution also ensures that those with pre-existing health conditions can access fresh produce without having to risk exposure at supermarkets and through leaving home.

Finally, as we are helping ensure resilient food supply chains in any country, we are serving the needs of the food insecure who have limited access to produce and who are vulnerable to disruptions to food supply in their countries.  

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing an actual pivot your organization has already made

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

AgUnity Response is adapting existing technology for farmer transactions to provide farmers with a mobile platform for selling produce directly to buyers, and enabling the safe delivery of produce to the consumer. AgUnity Response is a subsidiary of AgUnity Pty Ltd, an Australian-based social enterprise that has been working primarily (but not exclusively) in emerging markets since 2016. AgUnity Response will license IP from AgUnity and adapt the current mobile app and web platform for use by farmers needing to list their produce for sale, connecting them with buyers, and facilitating contactless transactions and delivery. 'Farmers ploughing fresh veggies back into soil as restaurant ban bites' - https://bit.ly/2xi0sEq 'Grocery delivery was supposed to be the ultimate pandemic lifeline. But it’s falling short.' - https://wapo.st/3d5cr7t 'Food waste and food insecurity rising amid coronavirus panic' - https://on.natgeo.com/2KI1P2m

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

The devastating health impacts of COVID-19 are well documented, but it is also estimated than an additional 130 million people will be pushed into acute food shortages globally, and that the world is on the end of a "Hunger pandemic." (https://reut.rs/2zDRYby). Research has shown that staying inside, only leaving your house for essentials, and limiting contact, has dramatically flattened the curve of COVID-19 cases worldwide. With new social distancing requirements and issued quarantines, many farmers are unable to reach buyers. With a likely second wave of COVID-19 hitting later in the year and this platform already in place, we will already have an established base of farmers that are readily available for this surge. This solution will benefit both farmers, vulnerable consumers, and the food insecure globally, with a timeline for impact beginning from 1-month through the entire course of COVID-19.

What is the name of your business or organization?

AgUnity Response

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

AgUnity Response is dedicated to farmers in food supply chains who have been directly affected by COVID-19 and social distancing. Farmers need a solution to get back into the food supply chain to be able to continue business, receive income, and reduce food waste. With our platform, Farmers can list and price their produce which is readily available and delivered directly to buyers. This solution also serves consumers who are affected either by broken food supply chains (the food insecure) and those with pre-existing health conditions, who need a safe way to access fresh produce. https://www.agunity.com/response

What is your profession?

AgUnity Response is a technology services company specifically setup to tackle food supply chain issues presented by COVID-19.

Where are you located (country)?

Australia; Singapore; Japan; Indonesia; Philippines; Ethiopia; Kenya; and more.

Where are you located (region)?

  • Oceana

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Agriculture/Farming
  • Education
  • Technology

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 11-49

How old is your business/company?

  • 2-5 years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Social Enterprise

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Funding- Investment
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- NGOs
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

We are looking for both in-country implementation partners to help rollout the technology solution, as well as government and or NGO grant funding, as well as impact investors to support the company from a financial and strategic perspective.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

A lack of national / local government support.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

That there is a significant amount of support, both industry and from people willing to help out, on COVID-19 focused initiatives. There remains some lack of vision that the impacts of COVID-19 on food supply chains will be as severe as it being predicted by international development agencies and government bodies.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

There are a lot of other organisations working on 'direct-to-consumer' food supply services, and we have already engaged a number of these for potential collaboration. We are also engaging farmers for their input and support on the direction of the solution and how it might be used and adapted in the field. We have also contacted our partners, such as UN World Food Programme, to see how this solution could support their efforts in food distribution / procurement and other areas.

Website URL

www.agunity.com/response

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Photo of Onwusoro Ifeanyi
Team

Congratulations.

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Photo of Miranda Jones
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Thank you!

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