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.
In markets like Kenya agricultural buying and selling patterns are rapidly moving towards social platforms like Facebook, changing the landscape of opportunity for new marketplace initiatives
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.
With increasing discussion around farmers using technology to solve long standing issues in agriculture, like finding a market for their produce, it’s reasonable to ask: is there any evidence that farmers can actually make a digital sale?
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?
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.