LAND DOCUMENTATION FOR FARMING COMMUNITIES ACROSS SUAMAN

In 2017, Meridia launched an endeavour to bring land documentation to a leading cocoa producing district in Ghana. Working with both chiefs and smallholder farmers, all stakeholders were brought together to make this a successful rollout.

Suaman traditional area is a single paramountcy chiefdom in the western part of Ghana, right on the border of Ivory Coast. The inhabitants in the area largely cocoa smallholder farmers, including some of Ghanas most productive farms. Given the customary approach to land documentation, with verbal rather than written records, the chiefs that govern the area were lacking information on who their constituents are, where they live and under what arrangement. As a result they were governing the area with minimum visibility, making land governance a real challenge. Working with Meridia to do land documentation, they were able to tackle this challenge head on.

"The key item was bringing all stakeholders on board. When everyone sees the benefit to their community and their role in it, they get behind it."

Building rapport with chiefs and the office of stool lands (OASL), Meridia ran a campaign for land documentation, educating local smallholders on the value of a document, then collecting their data and ownership evidence, providing an accurate survey of their land and finally producing a legally approved land document. This was in turn signed by the chiefs and legalised by the Ghana High Court.

In about a year’s time, Meridia mapped 7,691 hectares farmed by 1,880 smallholder farmers and provided each of them with FarmSeal, a customary land document that secures long-term leases for farmers in the Suaman Traditional Area.

"Given Suaman's farms are some of the most productive smallholdings in the country it shows the business case for each farmer - securing the future of their business."

IMPACT

Area mapped: 7,691 Hectares
Individuals impacted: 9,400
Legal documents issued: 1,880 FarmSeals
Female landowners: 453

IMPACT

"In Suaman the vast majority of smallholders have now had the opportunity to buy a land document."

AFFORDABLE AND SCALABLE LAND DOCUMENTATION FOR INDONESIA

This year Meridia is working to help the Indonesian government meet their target of 25 million new titles by 2025, by providing an affordable and scalable land documentation solution.

Indonesia faces one of our planets largest land documentation efforts. In the face of major challenges such as deforestation and urbanisation, the government has set an ambitious target to map the whole country. A significant part of this effort will be ensuring land documentation also benefits the many smallholders and residential landholders across the country. As a result, the Indonesian government is seeking to develop solutions that can demonstrate affordability and scalability. Meridia is developing just that.

“Working in challenging conditions, terrains and social context, we’re striving to build a solution that can provide legal accountability for scaling, while being socially flexible enough to mould to each community’s needs."

"The expertise of Meridia helps us make things work in the field."

- Kadaster International

With support from the Dutch Kadaster International and local partners on the ground – JKPP and Universitas Gadjah Mada, Meridia is piloting a participatory land documentation solution in Java and Sumatra, which if successful can be scaled up across the country. The pilot aims to demonstrate that sufficiently high surveying quality can be combined with participatory efforts, resulting in legally valid land documentation at an affordable price.

IMPACT

Area to be mapped: 4,500 Hectares
Landholders to be documented: 2,000
Individuals to be impacted: 10,000

Building SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION FOR TEA SECTOR with supply chain

Convened by HRH Prince of Wales, and driven by a cohort of dedicated corporates, banks and startups, Meridia is part of a Fintech Taskforce that is solving the issues for producers and supply chain alike in the Malawi tea sector.

IMPACT

Area to be mapped: TBD
Smallholders targeted: 10,000
Individuals to be impacted: 50,000

IMPACT

This is the first large scale collaboration between corporates, banks and startups to achieve a fair and secure traceability system that also benefits the smallholder producer

In 2017, a new Fintech Taskforce convened by HRH Prince of Wales, now stewarded by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership (CISL) set out to design collaboration between multinationals, financial institutions and start-ups such that we might better harness fintech to help solve sustainability challenges in the real economy.

"This innovative new technology will help us to increase sustainable sourcing, enhance the livelihoods of the smallholder farmers we work with around the world, and help to make sustainable agriculture mainstream. We have an important role to play in providing healthy food from a healthy planet, and we're proud to be working with industry leaders on new technologies to bring us closer to this goal"

- Keith Weed, Unilever's Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Sustainable Business

Corporate partners to the effort include Barclays, BNP Paribas, Sainsbury’s, Sappi, Standard Chartered, and Unilever. Doing the legwork on the ground are Meridia and 3 other startup partners Provenance, Halotrade and Focafet.

We’re setting out to demonstrate the use of blockchain technology in providing fair and secure traceability systems that can benefit from smallholder producers throughout the value chain until the consumer.  In turn the system can also be used to provide financial services to the smallholder producers.

Meridia is leading the data collection and field work in Malawi, working with leading tea processers and smallholder farmer groups. The goal is to reach 10.000 smallholder producers in the coming years.

“This technology has the real potential to help banks access more detailed and more reliable  information about social and environmental impacts in a secure way,  throughout the entire supply chain,”

- Marguerite Burghardt, Head of the Trade Finance Competence Center, BNP Paribas

PUTTING THOUSANDS OF COCOA SMALLHOLDERS IN GHANA ON THE MAP

In 2016-'17 Meridia teamed up with Ghana's largest farmer-owned cocoa cooperative, Kuapa Kokoo, to digitally survey and map 4,500 hectares of land for 2,400 of the coop's members.

Representing over 100,000 primarily smallholder farmers across 1,300 communities and six major cocoa growing regions, Kuapa is an important supplier of cocoa for, amongst others, Divine Chocolate, a leading fair-trade brand. However, with so many smallholders spread out across such a large area, Kuapa had always struggled to present a clear producer’s story to its customers. Detailed data gathered by Meridia would allow them to do just that.

Supported by international development organizations Solidaridad and TWIN trading, Meridia set out digitally registering all Kuapa’s farmer members in two of the coop’s growing-growing districts. Our task was to map smallholder land and provide a validated data set for Kuapa’s supply chain and traceability system. A dataset that included ownership, size, location and other important agricultural information.

All in all, Meridia mapped 4,500 hectares farmed by 2,400 smallholder farmers. Of this number, 1,100 farmers eventually purchased a FarmSeal, a customary land document that legalises long-term leases for farmers in traditional areas.

IMPACT

Area mapped: 4,500 Hectares
Smallholders documented: 2,400
Individuals impacted: 9,600
Legal documents issued: 1,100 FarmSeals

IMPACT

It was the first such comprehensive data gathering mission of its kind amongst cocoa farmers in Ghana.

© 2018 Meridia