The Harvest Fund

The Harvest Fund

Michelle Kurian ’10BUS and Ackson Mwanza


Venture Type: 

What is the social or environmental issue being addressed?

In Zambia, women constitute 70 percent of the agricultural workforce, yet toil away with outdated agricultural techniques and their bare hands. In the past decade, smallscale farmer technologies have broadened, yet there is a significant income and gender gap. These technologies seem to be reaching male farmers who are more agriculturally advanced.

The Harvest Fund believes that an integrated service model will multiply farmer incomes.  By targeting women’s farming groups, The Harvest Fund leverages the ability of groups to repay the technology loan together. To achieve customer success, The Harvest Fund selects qualified groups, distributes proven technologies, and provides financing options.


The Harvest Fund has developed an integrated service model that provides training, subsidies for proven smallholder technologies, and agricultural loan products. It works with carefully selected women’s farming cooperatives (groups of farmers). The model deploys five key steps over a two-to-three year period for each of its cooperatives. Each step is oriented around the annual planting season and promotes gradual adoption of increasingly advanced agricultural technologies. Broadly, these steps include: (1) climate-smart agriculture techniques; (2) hermetic grain storage via PICS bags; (3) solar-powered irrigation; (4) soil nutrient testing with the AgroCares near-infrared sensor; and (5) mechanization through an IoT-embedded “Smart Tractor.”

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