Data collection at scale with IDH

Smallholder farmers currently face a funding gap of around USD $170 billion, which has huge implications for the sustainability of global food chains as well as the environment. IDH Farmfit is a private-public initiative to break the cycle of rural poverty by giving smallholder farmers better access to markets. By supporting companies and banks that work with small scale farmers, IDH helps them to develop cost-efficient smallholder-inclusive business models. Akvo supports the IDH Farmfit programme in collecting primary farm-level data at scale. 




South America
West Africa
East Africa




Primary data collection support


Akvo Flow
Akvo Lumen

The challenge

Primary farm-level data is crucial to understanding the challenges faced by smallholder farmers and providing companies and banks with the information they need to effectively work with smallholders - whether through inputs, finance, or training. The Farmfit programme also needs data to monitor and evaluate the impact of interventions on farmer livelihoods, to help steer interventions to maximise positive impact. Collecting primary farm-level data is a challenge for a number of reasons, including difficulties in accessing farmers in remote locations and high costs of data collection.

The solution

Akvo set out to develop robust methodologies and processes to capture reliable farm-level data in South America, West Africa, East Africa and Asia. This data needs to provide input into the farmer economic analysis with the ultimate goal of improving companies’ service delivery models to smallholder farmers. Importantly, the data must also allow for comparison and learning across companies. Together with IDH, we designed the tools and processes to collect data, trained local enumerators, and monitor the quality of data as it is collected. 

IDH Akvo Honduras
Above: A smallholder farmer during data collection in Honduras.

The impact

Based on Akvo’s advised methods, IDH has started collecting primary farm-level data across its entire project portfolio. The programme team have also initiated impact evaluations to improve the programme using a data-driven approach. Primary farm-level data is essential for the development of well functioning smallholder agriculture markets. With this reliable and comparable data from multiple regions, the Farmfit programme can continue to improve service delivery models for smallholders and ultimately improve their livelihoods.