‘With impact tech & financial kickstart support, small-hold farmers can be Impact Generators’ – Spowdi CMO Rupali Mehra at COP28

At the COP28 session on ‘Impact tech for scale and action´ held by ClimateView at the Sweden Pavilion on December 3, Spowdi’s CMO Rupali Mehra spoke about the important role impact tech plays in accelerating a transition to a more sustainable food production system. 

“Small-hold farmers produce one-third of the food we consume globally, and they are the ones who need the most support for climate resilient food production…We do know that in food growing countries of Asia, Africa, South America and South Europe, there is water stress… If we don’t address that now, we are going to face a massive food crisis. So, technology and innovation needs to reach the small-hold farmers, and the faster we do it, the faster everyone comes together, the better it is,” she said. 

When asked about what Spowdi’s learnings have been from coming out of the Swedish innovation space and adapting to different markets, Rupali Mehra discussed the importance of understanding the end-user and innovating to solve for their pain points. 

“India was a perfect starting market for us in many ways as there are 125 million small-hold farmers in India, and more than 50% of them are women. Most of them do not have visibility in the public fora… but they are the ones who can become Impact Generators and help secure more food production… For that to happen they need to grow more food… need access to better technology… and kick-start support to uptake innovative & new technologies.”  

Photos: Business Sweden

Apart from Spowdi’s solar-powered precision technology that enables farmers to grow more food with 80% less water, Mehra also emphasized that data capturing is an important part of impact tech; “We have now created a data system in which each farmer in each location, who is using Spowdi’s technology can be tracked. The idea is that we can help with not just the technology for the last-mile use, but also; what you do with that technology and how can you measure impact with that technology.” 

As an example of why adaptation is so important when operating on a global scale, Mehra spoke about how the usage of the Spowdi smart farming is not only for agriculture, but also aquaculture. That way, the small-hold farmers are able to utilize the same water for both fish and crop farming with the help of the technology. 

Food and climate are the forefront of COP28, and more than $2.5 billion has been mobilized by the global community to support the food-climate agenda. Over 130 countries – representing over 5.7 billion people, 70 per cent of the food we eat, nearly 500 million farmers and 76 percent of total emissions from the global food system – have signed up to the leaders-level ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action.’ 

The session was hosted by ClimateView and Business Sweden.

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