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What will the early adopters of mobile agriculture services look like?

We ran an experiment. We created a simple sign-up form looking for farmers to be beta testers of a new mobile agriculture product we’re designing. We posted it on Facebook and shared it with a farmer in our network and then waited to see who would sign up. In less than 3 days we had almost 100 responses. This helped us understand both how quickly a new service could grow just through word of mouth but also to see what our early adopters would look like. Here’s what we found.

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What can Facebook data tell us about digital agriculture?

Every week hundreds of Kenyan farmers turn to online platforms such as Facebook to try and find a buyer for their produce. We’ve been mining, cleaning and analysing this data to see patterns in the way people buy and sell online. By analysing this digital behaviour we can start to see potential future trends in agriculture tech. Here’s what we’ve found.

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Design ideas from Facebook’s farmers

In emerging markets, the typical approach to designing mobile applications for agriculture (of which there are now hundreds), has been to conduct focus groups with rural farmers across countries like Kenya and Tanzania. But with significant usage of platforms like Facebook now common in these countries, is there a more cost effective and illuminating approach to understanding the needs of farmers that can inspire design ideas?

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Why we need to start investing in data we already have

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt in the last few months it’s just how much data there is out there that’s not being used. In fact by aggregating data across multiple online sources we were able to create the most comprehensive, interactive map of the Kenyan dairy industry. All for free and without ever leaving our front room. Here’s just one way we can start investing in the data we’ve already got.

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