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Investing to improve smallholder farmers livelihoods

IKEA Social Entrepreneurship takes its latest step to support social enterprise and tropical weather forecast provider, Ignitia.

It is estimated that 75% of the world's farmland is managed by small scale farmers who lack reliable and accurate weather forecasts. These farmers can experience up to 80%2  of yield loss due to the inability to plan for the weather conditions. By providing accurate weather forecasts farmers can better plan their work, increasing their yields and their incomes.

IKEA Social Entrepreneurship has made its first-ever equity investment in Ignitia, a highly accurate, hyperlocal weather forecast service for farmers working in the tropical belts.

Using predictive analytics, Ignitia has developed ‘Iska’, a daily, 48-hour rainfall forecast delivered via text message directly to farmers for as little as $0.04/day. Currently provided to farmers in West Africa, the service includes monthly and seasonal weather outlooks and is available in any local language. Today, global weather forecasts covering tropical farming areas are not accurate and affect millions3 of family-run, small scale farms worldwide. Ignitia estimates that their Iska service is twice as accurate as standard global weather models.

Liisa Smits, co-founder and CEO of Ignitia, participated in our Dela accelerator where she received support from IKEA co-workers and other experts on how to scale her work to reach even more farmers.

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(photo: Ignitia. Liisa Smits founder of Ignitia speaks with farmers in West Africa)

By contributing financially to Ignitia’s latest round of investments, we continue our support for Liisa and Ignitia. Ignitia can now scale into new regions and countries with an ambition that millions more tropical farmers will sign up for their service. In turn, these farmers will be able to sow, fertilize and harvest at optimum times, maximizing precious resources and reducing weather-related risks. This will result in a significant increase in income for farmers, with the impact felt in local communities and beyond.  

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