The 2018 Capstone Project with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) successfully researched existing data management systems for their applicability to smallholder farming and potential incorporation of blockchain technology, all with an initial focus on cotton production while keeping in mind the possibility of other crops to follow. The conclusion was that only one system had the potential to be adopted, and this was an e-voucher program developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Mozambique. While not as sophisticated as the other systems reviewed, it has the advantages of a delivery system for farmers along with the flexibility to layer on additional features. The seven participating graduate students also developed a beta system for SFA agronomists and technicians to be able to capture smallholder data. The breakthrough finding was that it is critical to start with detailed data direct from smallholders, taking both smallholder and other stakeholder data needs into consideration, and this will allow the data to be used in increasingly complex and valuable ways as the product progresses to eventual consumers.
The 2019 Capstone Project with the SFA builds on the 2018 Capstone Project and is now focused on 1) how to measure the broader impact of individual crops sourced by the SFA as they move through the supply chain, and 2) how to best use these quantified impact measurements.
Hugh Locke, Co-founder and President of Smallholder Farmers Alliance reflects on the valubale work SIPA students have conducted: Digital Champions for Haiti.