Project Everest

Solution

[Solution] FarmEd Fiji July 2019

Lean Phase: Solution

 

Aim: FarmEd delivers timely and tailored agricultural information to farmers through a smartphone application which identifies pest and diseases in farmers’ crops, and advises treatment methods. 

 

This post outlines:

  • Previous solutions explored
  • The current solution
  • Evidence for the current solution
  • Next moves

 

FarmEd’s solution aims to achieve goals 1 and 2 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/): 

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

 

FarmEd aims to achieve these goals by providing online agricultural consulting to smallholder and subsistence farmers. 

 

Previous Solutions

A number of solutions have previously been tested, including drone consulting and farming workshops. An application was chosen as it was the most effective and scalable solution. The January 2019 FarmEd team tested satisfaction with the MVP and found that over 85% of farmers are satisfied with the information provided by the application. In comparison to workshops, the application is more flexible, tailored to specific farmers problems and can be scaled even when PEV is not in Fiji. 

More information on why the application was adopted can be found here: https://res.cloudinary.com/crowdicity-eu-cld/image/upload/190121_FARMED_PROJECT_SUMMARY_DOCUMENT_01_ES_FZ_BG_lndxa9

Results of the content satisfaction experiment can be found here: 

https://projecteverest.crowdicity.com/post/864070

 

The mobile application has undergone various iterations. The first iteration is called ‘Govi Nena’ and was tested by the FarmEd team in January 2019. In February 2019 it was found that the Govi Nena application was not fully functional due to some back-end programming issues. The July 2019 team implemented a new application called ‘FarmEd Agricultural Pipeline’, which currently hosts only the Pest and Disease function. It also used the FarmEd Facebook page, which had the same functions as the application. 

 

Current Solution ‘Farm Ed Agriculture Pipeline’

FarmEd’s mobile application delivers real-time, tailored services to farmers using technology. The ultimate aim is to further Fijian farmers’ agricultural knowledge and advise techniques so that they can enhance their crop quality and yield. The application currently hosts a Pests and Diseases function which allows farmers access to information on pest and disease management. 

 

Key features of the app:

A detailed manual on the application can be found here:  

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PY6EmKTjp0Gijbe8-N4CfsH0QKM-16KNsq0F9WQM7VU/edit?usp=sharing

 

The FarmEd application currently targets farmers through business to customer (B2C) channels. Feedback from farmers and the questions asked by farmers will inform future development of the application and the addition of further functions and features.

 

Testing the Current Solution ‘Farm Ed Agriculture Pipeline’

The newest application ‘Farm Ed Agriculture Pipeline’ was tested via 3 experiments conducted in July 2019:

  1. Currency test

  2. Utility test

  3. Solution test

 

Currency Testing

Aim: the July 2019 conducted a currency testing experiment to test the assumption that farmers experience issues with pest control and disease mitigation, are seeking a solution to the issue, and are prepared to pay $1 for the MVP. 

 

Method: the team conducted surveys in villages, seeking early adopters, that is, smallholder and subsistence farmers who experience issues with pests and diseases, are actively seeking a solution, and have access to a smartphone or internet access. They pitched the application to farmers at village meetings and at the markets, and sold the app to these people for $1 for a month-long subscription to the application or Facebook service. 

 

Results: the experiment received a green light outcome, with 66% of farmers that were pitched the app choosing to purchase it, indicating that farmers see value in the product and the cost structure is appropriate. Of the farmers who did not purchase the app, the most common blocks were already having a P/D mitigation strategy in place, and a lack of smartphone access.

 

The results to the currency testing experiment can be found here:

https://projecteverest.crowdicity.com/post/2081130 

 

Utility testing

Aim: Utility testing was conducted to test the assumption that customers were capable of completing the customer journey. It examined blocks in the customer journey after purchasing the service. 

 

Method: The team returned to villages where sales had been made and determined which stage of the customer journey customers had reached (the steps being use app, provide adequate information in question, farmers understand advice, have the resources to implement the advice, and repeat use and referrals). Assistance was required in order for farmers to complete the customer journey by providing demonstrations on how to submit questions and showing them the advice in person. 

 

Results: The experiment reached a red light outcome, with 0% of customers completing the customer journey. The most common block to completing the customer journey was the inability to submit a question without assistance from a FarmEd trekker. Another block in the customer journey was access to technology. While many customers who reported having access to a smartphone or internet, later it became clear that they could only access the internet occasionally, as they either rarely had data, or used a shared phone. The results indicate a need to provide some form of demonstration or tutorial, and to redefine the customer segment as only tech-savvy farmers. 

The experiment showed that the Facebook service was more successful than the application. Of the 21 farmers that submitted a question, only 19% came through the application (4/21). 

 

Solution Testing

Aim: The July 2019 team conducted a currency testing experiment to test the assumption that farmers are actively seeking solutions and advice related to the core Pest and Disease function of the app.

 

Method: After selling the application to farmers, the July 2019 team analysed the number of questions they received from the farmers through both the mobile application and the Facebook page. These questions were then analysed to determine the percentage of questions that are related to P/D.

 

Results: The experiment achieved a green light outcome with 94.45% of farmers submitting questions related to the Pests and Diseases function of the app. It is important to note that many of the questions (79.2%) were submitted with assistance from FarmEd as app users were experiencing a number of utility blocks. This assistance hastened the experiment so that we could complete it within the specified time and permitted the completion of the utility testing experiment, but may have influenced the results of the experiment. 

 

The results to the solution testing experiment can be found here:

https://projecteverest.crowdicity.com/post/2104640

 

Next Move: 

To further validate this phase of the lean canvas, it is necessary to make more sales to farmers and address the blocks to the completion of the customer journey identified in the utility testing experiment. Further solutions testing can be completed by giving a larger time frame for farmers to receive and implement advice. 

Due to the widespread adoption of Facebook, FarmEd should focus on selling the FarmEd service through Facebook Messenger rather than the Agriculture Pipeline application. We experienced problems with the app in downloading, sending questions and receiving advice. This was clarified through utility testing as there were more questions sent through Facebook messenger than the application.

 

 

In the future, FarmEd plans to target businesses through business to business channels. There is the opportunity for the submitted data from farmers to be sold to businesses such as hotels, restaurants and agribusinesses to help maximise the reliability of their supply chain and reduce cost of production. Businesses have the opportunity to distribute the application to farmers to gain access to the data farmers input into the app. This could include statistics on expected crop production and yield as well as potential average prices for crops in the surrounding areas.  

 

edited on 25th July 2019, 21:07 by Isabelle Lance

Eugenia Muñoz 1 month ago

Can you please make it very clear in this post that you plan on moving forward with the fb messenger as the front end of the app rather than the app?

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Eugenia Muñoz 1 month ago

Status label added: Solution

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