Lucas Simons

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2012


This profile was prepared when Lucas Simons was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
To combat the persistent lack of understanding and perceptions of high risk in agricultural investment, Lucas has developed a way to efficiently and effectively provide a rating of mid-level agricultural producer organizations, which results in a “profile” of the organization. Medium-size producers (i.e. estates, cooperatives, medium-sized farms, typically employing between 50 to 1,000 farmers) are often not able to access finance, resources or insurance due to the risk involved in investing in farms. However, this specific group of farmers and organizations is expected to be key in providing enough food and resources for the growing global population. With SCOPEinsight’s rating and profile system, Lucas is able to shift the agricultural market from rewarding negative and non-sustainable methods to incentivizing positive, sustainable agriculture and management practices. Lucas works with a previously disconnected set of stakeholders to overcome perceptions of risk and promote financial inclusion, thus creating an entirely new market.

The rating tool is based on a variety of variables used to effectively score an agricultural producer organization. This tool seeks to determine whether a farmer can produce and sell a harvest, getting at the crux of what financial institutions and insurance companies ultimately want to know. There are several factors that contribute to the rating number, which functions similarly to a personal credit score; it shows whether a farmer is bankable or not. Additionally, this information is collected by a cohort of trained, local people, reducing the cost burden of traditional due diligence processes and injecting more jobs into the local economy. Scopeinsight rewards farmers for good practices and showcases farms as viable investment opportunities, providing financial inclusion for millions of medium-sized farmers.

The rating tool used by Scopeinsight is not the sole innovation. The tool is the mechanism by which Lucas works to promote transparency and increase the quality of information sharing. With this rating system, Scopeinsight creates dialogue among groups that traditionally do not understand or trust each other. Lucas works to add value for a variety of stakeholders: he allows mid-level farms access to capital, highlights investment opportunities for financial institutions, and provides an evaluation service for the citizen organizations (COs) working to fund these farms. By bringing these stakeholders together and opening up access to finance, insurance and networks for medium-sized producers, Scopeinsight provides an avenue for producers to receive resources that were previously unavailable. Growth of these particular organizations can lead to greater job creation, more sustainable agriculture practices and food enough to feed an increasing global population. In essence, by opening up access to these resources for medium-sized producers, world food security challenges can be mitigated.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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