Information poverty – when people do not have access to information about knowledge and technology to inform productive decisions – is a key driver of material poverty, and a significant challenge impeding poor people as they attempt to improve their lives.
Precision Agriculture for Development’s (PAD) work, at its core, was to scale cost-effective digital information provision via services that empower poor people with knowledge to improve their lives. We know that it is possible to provide targeted, customized, and actionable information very cheaply and directly to poor households. Our work demonstrates that our model is extremely cost-effective and that it is a scalable way of bringing benefits to the world’s poorest people. But we also know that smallholder farmers need more than agricultural information and that poor people beyond the remit of smallholder agriculture stand to benefit from our services.
As we have grown and demonstrated our impact and cost-effectiveness, we have fielded inquiries and pursued lines of inquiry that – were we to fulfill them – would stretch the credulity of a “digital agriculture service”. As the experience of piloting and operationalizing our ElimuLeo service bears out, our expertise, capabilities, and services are demonstrably transferable to an educational context. We believe there are other sectors in which we can add value too.
An additional challenge we as an organization have grappled with is that “Precision Agriculture for Development” does not accurately describe the work we do. In fact – as followers of precision agriculture will know – the name of our organization has implied that we do work which we do not do; and suggest sectoral guardrails that can inhibit our potential to expand and diversify our operations, partnerships, funding base, and potentially our human resource base.
Introducing Precision Development (PxD)
In light of these and other considerations, in August 2020, PAD’s Board authorised PAD to consider opportunities to provide information services in education and other sectors, in addition to agriculture. In September we formally changed our legally registered name to Precision Development (PxD) to accommodate a wider range of possible activities. Agriculture will remain our primary focus and smallholder farmers and their families will continue to constitute the vast majority of our users.
We are excited to present to you our new logo and branding assets. We hope you will join us as we consider new opportunities and partnerships, within and beyond agriculture, to advance information provision to poor families in developing countries. From a practical perspective, our acronym “PxD” will help to set us beyond the ranks of the many “PDs” crowding the acronym marketplace. We also hope that the “x” will invite conversation about what we do, our secret sauce, and the possibilities implicit in our services, experience, and capabilities.
As PxD iterates, learns and grows, we will remain committed to a few core principles:
- We will continue to serve the very poor.
- We will continue to work through the combination of rigorous research, learning and evidence-based iteration.
- We will maintain our focus on delivering actionable information and addressing frictions that inhibit productivity.
- We will work to deliver our services at scale, and at low marginal cost.
- We will partner flexibly and generously to advance these ends.
- We will continue to provide agricultural advice, given how important this is for many of the world’s poor.
If you would like any additional information about PxD or would like to explore a new collaboration, please do not hesitate to contact us.
X marks the spot!