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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.