Pinduoduo, a social commerce platform serving close to 900 million users, was the recipient of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2022 Innovation Award for its use of technology to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
The FAO Award for Innovation recognizes ground-breaking innovations that have an impact on more than one level of the supply chain and strengthen the link between farmers and consumers. Among the criteria for judging are the potential benefit, impact, and sustainability of the innovation, as well as the role of youth, women, and marginalized groups in it.
Pinduoduo is helping bridge the gap between academic research and the real-world application of agricultural technology, according to the FAO award citation. The innovative and inclusive solutions it offers allow smallholder farmers to increase their incomes and invest in more productive and environmentally sustainable practices, the citation said.
“Innovation is the central driving force to transform agrifood systems, and the private sector is an important contributor to innovation and extension in the agrifood sector along the entire value chain,” said Qu Dongyu, the FAO Director-General. “Pinduoduo is playing a leading role in stepping out of the traditional model and provides a platform to connect smallholder farmers with markets, to improve the 4 Betters – Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment, and a Better Life for All - in rural areas.”
Pinduoduo was founded in 2015 by PDD Holdings. It started as an online fresh produce vendor and is today a leading social commerce platform that has helped to connect 16 million farmers to its almost 900 million users.
As part of its Tech for Agri approach to promoting digitalization in agriculture, Pinduoduo has helped train more than 126,000 youths to set up agricultural businesses on its platform. It also provided a platform for young researchers to develop agritech solutions to help smallholder farmers through its annual Smart Agriculture Competition. Many of the participants in the competition have gone on to implement their agritech solutions in major food-production regions.
Accepting the award on behalf of Pinduoduo in Rome, XinYi Lim, Executive Director of Sustainability and Agricultural Impact at Pinduoduo, said the group was honored to receive the innovation award for its Tech for Agri approach to promoting digitalization in agriculture and digital inclusion.
“The FAO’s 2022 Innovation award to Pinduoduo is an important affirmation that a holistic approach to creating opportunities for young people in agriculture and developing more cost-effective agritech solutions for smallholder farmers makes a difference in promoting a more sustainable future for agriculture,” Lim said.