There are over 570 million farms in the world and roughly 2 billion people derive their livelihood from farming. However, not all farmers have equal access to different markets. To ensure that farming is carried out in a sustainable manner, today’s consumers (Companies, Grocery Chains, Super Markets)are demanding various certifications from farmers which certify these farmers of following eco-friendly sustainable farming methods. Farmers that do not have these certificates are deprived of access to better markets. These markets not only offer better prices but also create awareness within societies to consume products that are sustainably produced.
Certifications such as Rain Forest Alliance and Agriculture Market System Alliance(AMEA) alone do not serve many purposes to these farmers. Along with this, farmers need access to data-driven farming methods & technologies, finance, and a robust supply chain. SCOPEinsight, a start-up based in the Netherlands, offers just this. By doing so SCOPEinsight ensures a better quality of life to these farmers.
SCOPEinsight sees farming as a business, its assessment tools give a sense of how each organization is run as a business, and the scope score rating is used as a common language for farmer professionalism where farmers can approach a local financial institution for funding. This simply explains its mission and vision. With the right tools, the business partners know what to look for in a farming organization. Its score rating can be used by a financial institution, an investor, a social enterprise, an NGO, or a trader as a tool for measurement.
TIAS School for Business and Society
SCOPEinsight provides a rating system to farmers, which helps consumers (Companies, Grocery Chains, Super Markets) get a holistic view of how well the agribusiness is run. And therein lies the innovation, Lucas looked at agriculture as a business and not just as a means of livelihood. He then developed tools to rate these businesses. Giving utmost importance to farmer professionalism, the SCOPE assessment tools measure some of the most important aspects of professionalism for agribusinesses. These include Sustainability, Operations, and Financial Management to name a few. With this innovation, SCOPEinsight has greatly increased market inclusiveness and created more opportunities for professional agribusinesses in emerging markets.
SCOPEinsight promotes SDG’s of No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Gender Equality, Decent Work & Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities, Responsible Consumption & Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land and Partnerships for the Goals.
SCOPEinsight was founded by Lucas Simons with an aim to help farming organizations get access to markets. The idea behind SCOPEinsight has emerged during a trip to Guatemala where the founder, Lucas Simons was celebrating with a coffee farmer who had just received an acknowledged certification for his work as a coffee farmer yet the farmer seemed unsatisfied as he still could not gain access to loans.
This was a concern for Lucas as he felt that if certifications did not help the better-organized farmers get access to funds then it means there was a problem with the system, so he discussed with people in the industry and afterward came up with the idea for a rating system to demonstrate the professional reliability of farming organizations. He tested the viability of this idea and together with the help of lenders and data analysts, developed the SCOPE methodology. The methodology was based on Certification Systems, Farmer Training Programs, Financial Institution Due Diligence Process, Management Maturity Models, and a Plan-DO-Check-Act Management Cycle. Using SCOPE methodology, SCOPEinsight has been able to serve over 8.5 million farmers in 41 countries.
Over the years, it has brought together different parties in the agricultural sector to have dialogues that would never have taken place if there was no scope scoring. With this common language of scope scores, it is building a bridge between stakeholders in the market that would never have talked to each other and often do not understand each other. For instance, you have the NGO that provides different forms of intervention to smallholder farmers on one hand and you have the financial institutions looking at the agricultural sector because they know how important all these farm organizations and cooperatives are to the economy but they find it too risky to do business with and it's this misunderstanding that causes the disconnect. This serves as one of the reasons why smallholder farmers are not scaling up and bringing themselves out of poverty and so the market is failing. This problem is what SCOPEinsight is trying to fix through its mode of appraisal and it works with other corporate bodies with the aim of reaching the end users which are the farmers.
“Our assessment tools help our partners to have a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of the farmer organisation and to know where to channel their support. The training and coaching for this organization on those weak areas will be more targeted instead of what usually happens where training is given on a general note rather than specified” Marise Blom, SCOPEinsight, COO.
Collaboration with Key Partners
AMEA was set up as a foundation together with a few partners like IFC to design an international working agreement where different organizations pull together their knowledge in order to align the business processes of farm organizations and to give directions as to how professional farming should be done, so as to lead farming organizations to a higher level of professionalism.
For scale, SCOPEinsight plans to grow its database organically and also connect with more corporate bodies all around the world that need its assessments. Organizations that have benefited indirectly from the assessments of SCOPEinsight are now empowered to scale up either through the improved way their organization is run or through the funding and partnership they get indirectly through the work of SCOPEinsight, this is the testimony of its clients over the past 10 years.
For scale, SCOPEinsight plans to grow its database organically and also connect with more corporates (traders, agro-processors) all around the world that needs its assessments. Farmer organizations that have benefited indirectly from the assessments of SCOPEinsight are now empowered to scale up either through the improved way their organizations is run or through the funding and partnership they get indirectly through the work of SCOPEinsight, this is the testimony of its clients over the past 10 years.
In 10 years, SCOPEinsight has reached over 9.2 million farmers across 41 countries and has worked in 19 agricultural sectors. They have trained 768 assessors and completed nearly 4,0000 assessments with many development partners, some of which include Cargill, ICCO, Fairtrade Africa, AGRA, IFC, Farm Africa, and Heineken.
Today, SCOPEinsight has conducted thousands of assessments with frontrunners like the IFC, Cargill, Rikolto, NCBA Clusa and CNFA, and over 30 development partners. With hundreds of thousands of data points, the data SCOPEinsight provides increased transparency in the agricultural sector, lowers investment risks, and increases business opportunities for stakeholders in and around the agricultural value chain. SCOPEinsight has been able to serve over 9.2 million farmers in 41 countries.
Marise Blom, Chief Operating Officer
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Utrecht, Utrecht, NL
Business Website: www.scopeinsight.com
Year Founded: 2010
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
According to the World Bank, agriculture and agribusiness in developing countries will grow to be a US$1 trillion industry by 2030. The contribution agriculture has to many developing country’s GDP is significant with some regions experiencing a quarter of their economy derived from agriculture and agricultural related activity. Multilateral agencies like the African Development Bank view agriculture as being twice as effective in reducing poverty than any other sector. However, today’s reality is that the average farmer is earning significantly under his/her potential. Furthermore, farmers experience difficulty accessing the necessary finance and markets to help them grow their business. Estimates from the World Bank, for example, demonstrate that they perform at only 40% of their potential and there are billions of investment dollars that are stagnant in unlocked financing. “SCOPEinsight provides a solution to unite all stakeholders and to improve agri-SMEs' ability to grow their business including accessing markets and finance. This solution provides benefits to all stakeholders within the agricultural value chain from farmers to traders, multinationals, and development professionals” says Juliet Masco, Marketing Manager at SCOPEinsight.