28-11-2023 13:24

Giving back power to the first link in the chain

With the help of Nordea, Farmforce contributes to limiting deforestation and child labour in the agricultural sector in Africa, Latin-America and Asia.
Feltagenter Farmforce
Farmforce's field staff collect documentation.

The Norwegian company Farmforce has developed a software solution that traces agricultural goods.

At the time of writing, Farmforce has 70 customers. Farmforce helps its customers to meet sustainability targets, rules and regulations by tracing the crops of 1.1 million small farmers – with projects in Africa, Latin-America and Asia.

"With financial support from Nordea we have further developed solutions to make it simple to map everything in the first stage of production, says Carsten Werner," CFO of Farmforce.

Sustainability in the very first link of the chain

How it works: Field staff of Farmforce’s customers travel around, compiling farmers’ income, crop volumes, chemicals used, watering needs and the like. The field staff collect documentation to be able to prove that production has not involved deforestation and child labour.

"If we can’t document the absence of child labour and deforestation at the beginning of the process, we can’t document it in the end-user product."

The first link is crucial to ensure sustainability in a production chain.

Carsten Werner, CFO of Farmforce.


How common is child labour?

– According to the ILO (International Labour Organization) and Unicef, 160 million children are victims of child labour (2021)

– According to the ILO the agricultural sector accounts for the largest share of child labour worldwide – as much as 71%

– 1.56 million children are estimated to be involved in the cocoa production in West Africa

Good collaboration with Nordea

It is not a coincidence that Nordea has partnered up with Farmforce in its important growth phase. Nordea has lent around five billion Norwegian kroner to startups and is thus a significant source of capital. This also means that Nordea is starting to have a good statistical basis for estimating the risk of this segment. 

"We have gained solid competencies within this area," says Isabelle Bøhn, Relationship Manager in Nordea’s dedicated Startup & Growth team. "Farmforce has exactly the sustainability profile that Nordea wants to promote. They are future oriented and fulfil a need that will increase in the coming years, especially with the new EU regulations."

Isabella Bøhn, Relationship Manager at Nordea (left), together with Helena Bergmann, Financial Controller at Farmforce and Arnaud Dupuis, Head of Marketing at Farmforce.

New regulation

In June 2023 the EU implemented the European Union Deforestation-free Regulation, EUDR, to prevent deforestation. All companies that by 1 January 2025 cannot document that their goods (cocoa, coffee, soy, palm oil, rubber, cattle and wood) have been produced without deforestation will be subject to a fine.

"Farmforce ensures that responsible production can be documented from the very beginning in agreement with applicable rules and regulations when it comes to sustainability and transparency," says Carsten Werner.

Maiken Selmar Luhr from the Startup & Growth unit at Nordea explains:

"Sustainability is also to an increasing degree demanded by end-users who want to ensure that the cocoa, coffee or nuts they buy are not produced at the expense of the environment, farmers or the local environment where the production is taking place."

A large part of the crops come from tea trees and are refined into essential oils.

Power to the first link in the chain

One of Farmforce's goals is to give the power back to the first link in the chain and improve the living standards of farmers. Farmforce works together with Kutoka Ardhini and Fairoils to trace the crops of 10,000 farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and on Madagascar. A large part of the crops come from tea trees where essential oils are extracted. The oils are used in the doTERRA group’s cosmetic products for its customers.

"The field staff assist in the entire process from sowing and training to harvesting. This ensures that farmers get paid within 48-72 hours," says Rodney Muriuki, Global Sales Director of Farmforce.

"With the help of Farmforce, the farmers can now prove the quality of the production and get paid accordingly," says Arnaud Dupuis, Head of Marketing of Farmforce.

"In addition they get a much better basis for trading in the international market. We give the power back to the farmers."

I korte trekk hjelper Farmforce kundene sine og bøndene med å:

In short Farmforce helps its customers and farmers to:

  • keep a farmer network map
  • trace each crop all the way back to the fields
  • plan production
  • share data with customers
Together with Nordea Farmforce gives the power back to the farmers.

An important task

It is demanding to develop a solution that will work worldwide from the ridges of Peru to the cocoa plantations of the Ivory Coast. With the help of Nordea, Farmforce has developed the FarmerApp – an app providing a direct link between the buyer and the manufacturer.

"We had to develop a robust solution where data don't disappear even when there is no network or mobile coverage. It's no secret that the further development of this solution will require financial muscle," says Carsten Werner from Farmforce.

"Our main goal is to contribute to help our customers to meet the legal requirements from the authorities and ensure that the end-users get a product without traces of child labour and deforesting," says Arnaud Dupuis and adds:

"And the more companies that use the solutions from Farmforce, the closer we’ll get to reaching this goal."

Picture and video in the article:
Farmforce, Nordea and Øyvind Ganesh Eknes