“Data! Data! Data!” begins the quote from Sherlock Holmes, “I can’t make bricks without clay!” It is this sentiment that Colombian farmers are quickly grasping.
In a recent interview, Cultivando Futuro‘s CEO Dario Gonzalez, talked about the rewards of collection, analysis, and organization of data for Colombia’s farmers. Another startup, Powr Of You, of the UK, concurs that because data is an industry with revenues of $156 billion USD annually, everyone who contributes should be rewarded.
Dario explained how all of their effective ability to organize is due to the fact that their work is built around mutual trust for reliable data for by farmers in their new confederation (the first in Colombia’s agroindustry).
What Cultivando Futuro’s platform and methodology do stands in contrast to what data gathering and analysis has been considered normal for farmers in Colombia. Usually, they get information from things like the Censo Nacional Agropecuario 2014, which is several years old by the time it is available for use. Farmers are also accustomed to receiving a visit from three groups and filling out three forms, often asking questions that do not pertain to them and not asking the questions that do. Then, they are used to having little return on their investment of data, setting up an environment of frustration and distrust, so Cultivando Futuro’s team had to share meals and talk for hours to gain the trust and cooperation of the community.
Co-founders Carlos Castellanos and Edisson Aguilar, accompanied by CEO Dario, stood out from the 500 applications for the TFF Challenge and won first place. Cultivando Futuro promotes direct connections between producers and buyers, with big data.
They offer a way for farmers to upload their own data and receive a quick turnaround of information and different levels of information. The farmer can decide who will benefit from seeing their data, whether a buyer or a project or government entity. When projects come available to help farmers on the platform, then accurate matchmaking is done by the data owner.
Farmers get individual analysis, buyers get data by product, and the associations get aggregated information and analysis as well as detailed, complex dashboards for strategic government decision making. Using big data, Cultivando Futuro can offer farmers rewards at each point and level of organization.
Dario painted a picture of when Cultivando Futuro went “boots on the ground” in 2017 to gather data specific to each farm, covering half of Colombia working one-on-one with farmers and connecting 60,000 farms with their organization and associations. Now, for 2018, he says that they are looking forward to discovering the remaining half of farmers, their unique concerns, and what Cultivando Futuro can do to obtain their next round of investment needed for making their platform better and faster. If possible, then 2018 may find them expanding their platform to Panama and Mexico or other LATAM countries with similar cultural structures and language.