From Experiments to Scale

We have just tied the bow on our final quarterly report for 2019. In the full calendar year Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD) served 3.5 million farmers, assisting some of the poorest people on our planet to increase their farm yields and incomes for the benefit of themselves and their families. 

Growing our reach. Diminishing our average costs.

PAD has grown far more quickly than we dared hope in our strategy written just two years ago. As we grow, we are coming to terms with the fact that we are no longer just a start-up.  We want to maintain our plucky, can-do and nimble mentality. But we are also in the process of putting in place the governance, structures and systems that enable us to deliver effectively at scale. One component of that has been the appointment of Amrita Ahuja to our board. Amrita brings to our leadership collective a wealth of experience and expertise, and unique insights into scaling evidence-led development interventions as a co-founder of Evidence Action

PAD is dedicated to learning through rigorous research, but also by learning as an organization, and as a team. Our Q4 2019 report includes open acknowledgement of challenges and setbacks that we have encountered.  We know that there are opportunities to learn in moments of frustration, and in instances when we must take two steps back before, again, moving forward. I hope that being frank about challenges, and learning from them, will be a feature of our reporting and communications going forward. (As we move towards being open about where things have not gone as we had hoped, I am reminded of the wise words of the fictional Sir Humphrey Appleby in Yes Minister, who tells Ministers that a decision is brave if it will cost them votes, and courageous if it will cost them the election).

In Q4 2019, PAD began operations in Zambia, our eighth country. These are exciting times for all of us at PAD. Many hands have contributed to our success. We hope more will join us as we reach more farmers in more geographies in 2020.

Owen Barder

Chief Executive Office, Precision Agriculture for Development