Smallholder Farm Challenge

Pile Of Nuts

Problem Statement:

Unpredictable water availability in regions where Diageo’s smallholder farming networks operate, such as in sub-Saharan Africa where they grow crops such as barley, sorghum and maize, make it difficult for these farmers to reliably deliver the quantity and quality of yield. Reliable access to water is a significant underlying problem, becoming even more challenging due to the impact of climate change. Applying the right amount of moisture, at the right growth stage to ensure crop development, further complicates the issue. The variability of water access, and the distributed nature of the smallholders, also makes applying and financing solutions to address the problems difficult, especially where sensors, software and equipment may be applied as solutions. Addressing this problem will also benefit the wider farming communities, generating a positive impact on livelihoods, climate change resilience and productivity.


Significantly improve resource efficiency and predictability of crop yield from smallholder farms, in areas that are water stressed and where they suffer from erratic weather patterns, to improve sustainability of producing farmed crops for Diageo’s brewing and distilling business. Solutions need to be developed that are affordable and applicable to individual smallholder farms and/or communities.

Potential Solutions Could Include but are not Limited to:

  • Regenerative agriculture solutions
  • Water sourcing and reuse solutions
  • Metering and control of soil condition and health (helping mitigate against erosion and or salinisation)
  • Services such as credit scoring, crop insurance and financing
  • Smart irrigation, irrigation support tools and solar irrigation
  • Farm knowledge networks, and equipment sharing platforms
  • Hyper-local weather forecasting
  • Goods and services marketplaces
Society 2030: Spirit of Progress

Society 2030: Spirit of Progress

Diageo's 10 year action plan to help create an inclusive and sustainable world, underpinning our growth as a business whilst creating a positive impact in our company, with our communities and for society.