The majority of agricultural lands responsible for producing most of the world's food are distributed among more than 500 million family farms, according to FAO data. A huge number of small producers do not always find it easy to obtain a loan, which limits their ability to invest in improvements to obtain a higher yield and of better quality. Given that the world population is increasing and with it the demand for food, it is necessary to increase production in a sustainable manner, which forces us to solve the financial problems of these family-owned farms.
This is precisely the reason Aline Oliveira has created Traive, a company that uses data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the prediction of investment risk in agricultural holdings. Thanks to these precise estimates, farmers with good results can obtain more advantageous loans, a global benefit that makes Oliveira become one of the winners of Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2018 selected by MIT Technology Review.
The main difficulty for obtaining accessible loans is the fact that banks do not have the tools to correctly estimate the risk of default of the farmer. This lack of foresight makes investing a great risk, which translates into high interest rates for the farmer. Now, with the use of Traive's analytics, the financial costs could be reduced between 25% and 50%, allowing the farmer to keep more money to buy better products and to invest in the development of his farm business.
"Just by knowing the location of the lands and the type of crop that will be harvested, the system can predict the performance that it will obtain," Oliveira states. This is made possible thanks to the database compiled by Traive of arable land quality and to the historical analysis of productivity that each type of land has for each type of crop. "Furthermore, the algorithms take into consideration weather patterns and business trends to predict the expected price range for the product in the next campaign," the young Brazilian woman adds.
A different algorithm is responsible for grouping the loans granted to create diverse investment vehicles in which the risks of non-payment of the individual credits are balanced. The objective of this process is to create the right conditions to attract people that are willing to invest a large amount of money in agriculture without controlling the concession of each farmer’s loan.
Created this year, Traive is conducting a pilot with 1,000 farmers in Brazil to demonstrate the effectiveness of the algorithms. Oliveira hopes that the success of this project will attract investors for the next agricultural campaign.
The CEO of HAG Consulting & Ventures, Rodrigo de Alvarenga, jury member of Innovators under 35 Latin America 2018, highlights that "the Traive project is very ambitious" and has the potential to "generate a great impact." The judge added that the idea is "focused correctly on the problem, since it brings value to both sides, both to the farmers and the investors."