How a Two-Cent Text Message Helps Farmers Grow Out of Poverty

On an otherwise reasonable evening in July, over 600 people packed an auditorium in Boulder, Colorado, for the culmination of the 2015 Unreasonable Institute. They came to watch 12 ventures take the stage and present their solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

The entrepreneur in this video is Liisa Petrykowska of Ignitia.


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What urgent need do you address?

In West Africa, small-scale farmers face several challenges. Climate change, extreme weather, and fewer growing days per year cause uncertainties that affect their decisions about every stage of the farming cycle—critical choices when a family’s livelihood depends on a successful harvest. These decisions are totally weather dependent, so farming is particularly hard in a place with no accurate or reliable tropical weather forecasts…until now.

What solution do you propose?

All farmers should have the opportunity to get quality, reliable information that will ensure and improve their yield year after year. Tweet This Quote

For only a two-cent text message, Ignitia helps small-scale farmers earn a reliable income by offering the world’s first reliable tropical weather forecasts. Accuracy rates have soared from 39% from global competitors to 84% with our model. To date, we have sent over 5.4 million text messages with weather forecasts to small-scale farmers in West Africa. Our model is extremely scalable, and we’re looking for another 120 million farmers to join—we just need their phone numbers. All farmers should have the opportunity to get quality, reliable information that will ensure and improve their yield year after year. Help us empower rural farmers to grow out of poverty.

About the author

Unreasonable Institute

Unreasonable Institute

The Unreasonable Institute arms entrepreneurs creating solutions to the world’s biggest social and environmental problems with the mentorship, capital, and networks they need to do so.