With a detailed picture of soil, plant and climate conditions,
software from Ingemann can optimise crop yield.
This is already benefitting farmers in Central America.
Sustainable Development Goals at play
• SDG 2: Zero hunger
• Target 2.3: Double the productivity and income of small-scale food producers
• By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and income of small-scale food producers, particularly women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishermen, through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and employment outside of the farms.
• SDG 13: Climate Action
• Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
It started as a Central American honey adventure back in 2007 when Danida invited the Danish food company Ingemann to Nicaragua. The goal was to develop an effective honey export infrastructure to improve the earning opportunities for the country’s many beekeepers. The projects regarding honey, and later Nicaragua’s important cocoa production, both succeeded. Today, Ingemann ensures market access for more than 1,500 Nicaraguan farmers and beekeepers, and new countries are on the horizon.
”When we first came to Nicaragua, it was mostly a coincidental combination of competencies,” says CEO of Ingemann, Niels Ingemann Møller. ”We knew something about honey production, and we knew something about international marketing and logistics. Today, in addition to exports of Nicaraguan honey, we run a honey academy where we train new beekeepers and help existing beekeepers optimise their business.”
In 2013, Ingemann acquired a cocoa company originally established by Danish investors. Here, too, an academy is being run for the farmers:
“We have about one million cocoa trees at the local producers, from which we have an obligation to purchase cocoa, typically on long-term contracts," says Niels Ingemann Møller.
"At the same time, we provide fermentation and drying and further export to more than 50 countries. It is a big success. Our advanced processing methods allow us to deliver some of the most award-winning cocoa in the world.”
Despite the progress, the Nicaraguan farmers will face major challenges during the coming years, says Niels Ingemann Møller:
”As a major coffee producer, Nicaragua is one of the countries in the region that is hit the hardest by climate change. We regard climate change as both a threat and an opportunity. Coffee is extremely sensitive to heat, which means that large areas of cultivation can suddenly become unprofitable. The cocoa trees, on the other hand, can withstand higher temperatures and are therefore a good substitute for coffee. The same can be said for honey production because of its high mobility. Beehives can be moved to areas where flowers can be found.”
With extensive knowledge of local production conditions, it was natural for Ingemann to take the next step in the fight against climate change. The initiative is called Agroclimática - a software that can provide early warning, technical assistance and recommendations to farmers through climate, plant and soil data.
”With Agroclimática, we can create new knowledge of local production conditions,” says Niels Ingemann Møller. ”Here, we combine meteorological algorithms with data from weather stations and local micro-observations around soil and the level of sophistication of the individual farmer. The results of these calibrations are communicated to the farmers by e-mail or SMS. Here, they will find detailed instructions on what should be done on the ground so that the crops will get the optimal conditions.”
Participating in the SDG Accelerator for SMEs has provided direction and energy for the entire project, says Niels Ingemann Møller:
”At first, we were very unsure of how Agrolimática would work as well as how to approach the market. All of this has been validated through the SDG Accelerator with the help of skilled experts. It has brought us a lot closer to real market development.”
The next step for Ingemann is to further develop the software so that Agrolimática can play an even greater role in agriculture in developing countries, initially in Central America but eventually globally, says Niels Ingemann Møller:
"Agroclimática includes a total of 32 crops and three types of cattle, not just honey and cocoa. On both the business side and the investment side, we can bring our knowledge into play. For example, if a farmer buys a large piece of land, we can help with an analysis of the climate and soil conditions in relation to the desired crops. At the same time, we have developed a lending tool for banks and microfinance institutions. By combining climate forecasts, soil conditions and our knowledge regarding the growth needs of the plants, we can provide a credit assessment on our Agroclimática platform that can be included in the institute’s overall assessment. We hope that it can help increase food production because more farmers will be able to access, for example, seasonal credit and insurance.”
Niels Ingemann Møller also has great expectations for the future of the Agroclimática platforms:
“The ambition is that our early warning system will reach around 10,000 Central American farmers within the next couple of years. Next, the rest of Latin America is waiting, as are new partnerships with banks, microfinance institutes and NGOs - and of course other continents where needs are equally big. Our big strength is that we are not a software company that has figured out a smart idea. We are a food producer that knows our craft through local presence and many years of experience who now adds further value through technology.”
This is how Ingemann contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals
- Ingemann has developed the software platforms Agroclimática that will help farmers optimise the cultivation of their crops because it makes them able to prepare for crucial climate change in the region.
- The software can also help identify different investment scenarios, ensuring farmers increased access to credit and insurance from relevant financial institutions.
- Based on experience from Nicaragua and Honduras, the solution is expected to be rolled out in other countries in the region and, at a later stage, the world
Facts about Ingemann
- Established in 2007.
- Approximately 90 employees.
- Geographical presence in Denmark and Nicaragua, exports to over 50 countries
”The ambition is that our early warning system will reach around 10,000 Central American farmers within the next couple of years. Next, the rest of Latin America is waiting, as are new partnerships with banks, microfinance institutes and NGOs - and eventually other markets. Our big force is that we are not a software company that has figured out a smart idea. We are a food producer who knows our craft through local presence and many years of experience.”
Niels Ingemann Møller, CEO, Ingemann
SDG Accelerator for SMEs
- SDG Accelerator for SMEs is an innovation programme for small and medium-sized industrial enterprises created by the UNDP in 2018 with support from the Danish Industry Foundation. The programme focusses on developing and accelerating business solutions addressing the Sustainable Development Goals. The programme is implemented in collaboration with Deloitte and is tested in Denmark in 2018-2019 with 30 SMEs, after which the aim is to roll out in other countries.