The daily survival of over 650 million1)2) people in Africa depends entirely upon their ability to grow their own food. These people are usually referred to as subsistence farmers.
As important as food is, these people want more from life than simply to eat. They want to send their children to school, buy decent clothes, purchase simple tools and be able to afford health care. If possible, they want to go even further to improve the lives of their families with basics such as electric power and clean water.
To accomplish such aspirations, these farmers try to grow more than they need so that they can sell their surplus crops to pay for things they can’t grow.
The problem is, subsistence farmers mostly live where the roads are in such bad condition they are not able to reach a decent market to sell their crops or they sell to traveling middlemen for very low prices.
It is the objective of the Wings4Farmers project to break the stranglehold of bad roads. We intend to do it by literally flying over the problems on the ground. This will be made possible by using an ultra-inexpensive type of aircraft called a levopter.
Levopters hold the promise of being able to fly the crops of farmers to much better markets to help them earn far more money than they currently make. On return flights, levopters will be able to bring purchases to farmers such as better farm tools, water pumps, medicine and wind or solar powered generators.
The Wings4Farmers service will bring benefit to those who need it most – Africa’s women and children. The New York Times reports that the typical farmer in the region is a woman3) and Nike Corporation points out that “When women earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.”4) Levopters just might add the mobility women need to change their lives and the lives of their families.