The two organisations seek to utilise mobile surveys to engage and educate smallholder farmers in emerging economies, with the goal of reaching one million farmers by 2020 via SMS and voice messaging.
The partnership will allow commercial organisations such as global brands, exporters, and suppliers, as well as governments and non-profits to ensure social compliance in key value chains and to empower farmers to gain greater access to markets, ultimately adding value for both farmers and consumers.
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Johan Maris, managing director of Control Union said the company was excited to focus its expertise and better support smallholder farmers.
“GeoPoll’s team and platform provides us practical tools to connect with rural farming communities to educate, certify and link them to a global marketplace,” he said.
“The survey tools also empower our commercial clients to monitor goods as they move through supply chains, increasing transparency and helping them report better economic and social impact.”
He added that accessing information from the most remote farming communities will no longer be a barrier to asking or answering consumer questions.
Together, GeoPoll and Control Union will launch several mobile products aimed at non-profits, commercial organizations, exporters and suppliers such as certification surveys, value chain monitoring, compliance messages and custom surveys.
James Eberhard, founder and chief executive of GeoPoll said his organisation was pleased to partner with Control Union to improve engagement with smallholder farmers, bringing them increased access to global markets and business opportunities.
“This is an excellent use of the GeoPoll platform, and we’re confident that the better data and increased knowledge generated through this partnership will be beneficial for both farmers and ultimately consumers,” added Eberhard.
“The partnership will initially focus on countries in Africa including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda, expanding to key markets in Asia including Indonesia and the Philippines.”
Eberhard said this was a positive development with consumers demanding increased transparency; target value chains include coffee, cocoa, cotton, palm oil, rice, tea, tobacco, and fresh fruits and vegetables.