Project Everest

Work Update

Ag Assessment Malawi moves into 2018!

Roya Ghodsi
Roya Ghodsi | Jan 5, 2018 | in Agriculture Assessment

The December Agricultural Assessment Team left off the month having designed and begun implementation of a farm prototype tailored to the Malawian context. The prototype aims to test an integrated permaculture system consisting of companion cropping and crop rotation methods, designed to increase productivity of smallholder farmers, increase nutritional variety, and increase resistance to crop loss from pests, weather and weeds. At this stage in the project, it is intended that once the most suitable methods have been identified and refined, they will be offered as a product to smallholder farmers via a farming blueprint. According to the current business model, this blueprint will be accompanied by an ongoing consultancy service, as well as a distribution service whereby the business guarantees to purchase surplus produce from farmers to be on-sold to businesses at a mark-up price.

The focus of this month will be to continue work on the farm while further refining the product offering/s with the aim of achieving product-market fit. Below are a few of the main goals for the month.

  • 1. Conduct 50 interviews with farmers in Nsambudzi to validate the current value proposition of the blueprintand complete implementation of experimental farm accordingly

The December team managed to plant a massive 9 out of 14 beds available on our plot of land in Nsambudzi. The January team must conduct further market research to better identify pains and tensions of smallholder farms and refine the value proposition of the farming blueprint to ensure it is best meeting the farmers’ needs. By conducting 50 surveys with farmers, and reviewing the progress of the existing 9 beds, the team is aiming to implement the last 5 beds by the end of the month.

  • 2. Maintain existing farm

The January team will visit the farm weekly to assess and document the growth rate and stage of each of the crops, as well as to harvest any mature crops, and manage any pests, weeds or crop damage.

  • 3. Undertake a thorough investigation into the food supply chain market, exports and imports

The team intends to investigate the feasibility of including a distribution service as a potential third revenue stream by further empathising with both food producers and consumers. Research needs to be conducted into whether farmers see value in the distribution service or have the means to sell surplus produce on their own, as well as how businesses currently source their fresh produce and whether we could provide value to them through a direct distribution service.

  • 4. Test the assumptions of the current BMC

Alongside the maintenance and further development of the farm, the team aims to further test the assumptions of the current BMC to assess which elements are viable and where needs further development. This includes more clearly defining a customer segment (creating a typical customer archetype), further ideation and prototyping of the consultancy service and distribution service, and determining price points according to how much farmers are able and willing to pay. 

It's looking to be an incredible month. Watch this space!

edited on Jan 5, 2018 by Roya Ghodsi

Amber Johnston Jun 30, 2018

Status label added: Work Update