Model & Strategy

The Problem

Smallholder farmers produce around one-third of the world’s food, but less than 6% of these 500 million farmers earn incomes that allow them to sustain their livelihoods by farming commercially. As a result, 50% of farming households send at least one family member to migrate for (often inhumane) work. These farmers face numerous challenges and potential risks that prevent them from being commercially active, even though the potential benefits can be high. Many are excluded from access to markets and lack knowledge of high-value crops and quality farming inputs. Additionally, they suffer from production risks like droughts and floods, further exacerbated by the consequences of climate change. There is a need to provide a holistic solution to smallholder farmers that addresses their myriad challenges and enables them to make sustainable choices that lead to increased income and improved ecosystems.

The Solution

aQysta partners with smallholder farmers in its Farm Incubator business model to provide farmers with everything they need to become more profitable, resilient, and climate-smart. The Farm Incubator earns revenue through a profit-sharing mechanism with farmers on eventual harvest sales, allowing farmers to participate in a risk-free program that requires no up-front investment and pays them a monthly advance allowance for their predicted harvest. Farmers also receive renewable energy technologies for irrigation, quality seeds and other inputs, training, and support with sales of improved crop varieties — all of which ensure better yields and fairer prices. The Farm Incubator prepares first-time commercial farmers with the technology, knowledge, financing, and market access to supply to national and international premium markets.

aQysta believes that even the smallest farmers can be profitable while farming in harmony with nature. aQysta aims to create economic and climate resilience for more than 100,000 people by 2028.

At a Glance
Founded: 2013
Food & Agriculture
Location of work: International, Africa, India
The Hague, Netherlands
Small farmers. Big impact.
Meet Pratap Thapa & Lennart Budelmann

Pratap grew up in a farmer community in Nepal where his parents, whose farm was located right next to a river, were unable to get water from the river to the farm. Instead, they depended on rainfall and tried to “catch the rain” when the first monsoon rains came. Pratap went on to become an engineer and ultimately received a scholarship to a master’s program at the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands.

Lennart brings his education and experience in operations and supply chain management from Airbus and Mercedes to drive the smallholder farming value chain with data and process optimization. When Lennart went to study and live in South Africa from Germany, the importance of water and farming struck him, and at the same time he saw the world too divided into for-profit and for-impact focus.


Served more than 12,000 farmers across 27 countries with innovative hydro-powered irrigation pumps

Piloted the Farm Incubator in India, Nepal, and Malawi, resulting in farmer income increases of 200%