Jasberry Co. Ltd. applied for the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Program last year and was lucky to be selected in June 2018 as one of 70 social enterprises from around the world to receive funding under the program. Expo Live is an innovation and partnership program launched by the organizers of Expo 2020, which will be held two years from now in Dubai. Leading up to the 2020 expo, the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme provides financial support to organizations with novel and innovative solutions in three thematic areas: Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. Grant recipients receive funding for their projects and have an opportunity to exhibit their solutions in Dubai during Expo 2020.
We were happy to go on a field visit last week with Sofiya, a Grant Manager with the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme team. Sofiya flew from Dubai to visit us in Thailand and see firsthand how we were using support from the grant program to generate positive social impact for our farmers.
Our first stop on the field visit was to observe an IT training session with field officers from a partner cooperative. With support from Expo Live, we are partnering with an IT company to build a digital data collection system for our field officers and cooperatives. This system will allow field officers to use mobile devices to collect livelihood and yield data directly from farmers in their fields, replacing current paper-based surveys and record keeping systems. The paper-based systems are labor intensive and prone to errors and inaccuracies, while the new digital system will provide real-time data that will assist both the cooperatives and Jasberry with harvest planning and record keeping for organic certification. Sofiya was able to sit in on a training session with the IT company and the field officers as they tested a prototype version of the data collection software. We expect the IT system to be fully fielded within a year, allowing us to greatly improve the accuracy and timeliness of data collection for over 2,500 Jasberry farmers.
The second and last stop on the field visit was to a field where farmers were trained on how to produce their own high-quality Jasberry seed for planting. Teaching farmers the proper techniques for producing their own seeds lowers planting costs for them, and also helps us ensure high quality standards for the Jasberry rice they produce. The rice in the training field was planted a few months ago during an initial training session for 20 farmers, and we were able to show Sofiya how healthy the rice was now in the middle of the growing season. Support from Expo Live also covered the costs of this seed production training, so we were happy to pose for a few photos with Sofiya and the cooperative field officers who carried out the training.
We’re very fortunate to have received so much assistance from the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme, and had a great time during Sofiya’s visit. We look forward to continuing to update our blog with several other activities that are helping Jasberry farmers thanks to support from the Expo Live program.