Project Everest

Customer Segment

[Customer Segment]: FarmEd Fiji - July 2019

Lean Phase: Customer Segment

Aim: The aim of this post is to identify potential customers in Fiji that are lacking in the criteria of the UNSDGs, in particular in the ‘No Poverty’ and ‘No Hunger’ goals. This post aims to portray the demographics of each type of customer, their goals and needs so we can understand them better. Our main customer base are early adopters who are smallholder and subsistence farmers who have a smartphone or access to internet.

They key points the post outlines are:

  • Subsistence farmers
  • Smallholder farmers
  • General demographics
  • Goals of farmers
  • Next Move

           - Business linked (commercial) farmers

           - Validating the solution

Subsistence Farmers

Subsistence farmers in Fiji feel frustrated and unproductive when they are unable to implement effective farming practices due to a lack of access to timely and tailored agricultural information. 

Subsistence farmers mainly grow food and crops to feed their families and their village community, but do not sell their crops at the market. Subsistence farmers run their farms as a family. Villages are very close-knit and multiple related families help each other out and run the same farm. Families and the tight-knit community of the village are very important to them. They cherish values of sharing, caring and helping one another in times of need.

About 10% of farmers interviewed in the July 2018 experiment are subsistence farmers.  From our primary research, subsistence farmers have been categorised by the following problems: 

  • Unbalanced diet: Crops grown are not diverse in range to be able to sustain a balanced diet for farmers and their families
  • No income: Enough food to feed themselves but not enough left over to sell for more profit in the market
  • Hunger: Farmers are unable to grow enough crops to feed their families

 They have also identified the following needs:

  • Increase quantity production: 29% of smallholder farmers interviewed wanted to increase quantity production
  • Increase production diversity: 24%
  • Market knowledge: 14%
  • Transport channels: 0%
  • Equipment and tools: 5%
  • Financial Assistance: 14%
  • Food security: 0%
  • Farming knowledge: 14%

Since family values are the most important to subsistence farmers, they want to have a more stable income and enough food to feed their families and communities. They want more access to information as the existing advice given by the Ministry of Agriculture either takes too long or is not tailored specific to each farm. 

 

Smallholder Farmers

Smallholder farmers in Fiji feel frustrated and unproductive when they are unable to implement effective farming practices due to a lack of access to timely and tailored agricultural information. Smallholder farmers are better enabled to secure partnerships with smallholder producers when they implement effective farming practices which maintain crop yield.

Smallholder farmers mainly grow food and crops to sell at the market, and use some crops to feed their families. Smallholder farms are slightly larger than subsistence farms, and are usually managed and run by multiple related families. 

About 83% of farmers interviewed in the July 2018 experiment are smallholder farmers.  From our primary research, different categories of smallholder farmers have been identified according to the problems they face: 

  • Seasonal: they grow less in wet season than in dry
  • Sales: Farmer grows a high quantity of crops but has limited market knowledge to make sufficient profit (not selling effectively, market supply and demand gap)
  • Production: farmers whose income is low, are unable to pay for certain needs with current income, face financial instability, have enough diversity of crops grown, but the quantity is not high enough.
  • Diversity: smallholder farmers are lacking in diversity of crops grown

They have also identified the following needs:

  • Increase quantity production: 24% of smallholder farmers interviewed wanted to increase quantity production
  • Increase production diversity: 27%
  • Market knowledge: 12%
  • Transport channels: 3%
  • Equipment and tools: 13%
  • Financial Assistance: 8%
  • Food security: 1%
  • Farming knowledge: 11%

 Fijians are family-focused and community-minded. Hence they are willing to help each other out financially. Hence the financial benefits of selling higher quality and quantity of crops will affect both the smallholder farmer’s family, and the village. Farmers want to have a more stable income and enough food to feed their families and communities. They want more access to information as the existing advice given by the Ministry of Agriculture either takes too long or is not tailored specific to each farm. 

 

General Demographics

  • Farming purpose and size: From July 2018 experiment, the farmers had farms spanning from 1 acre to 32 acres. These farmers were mixed in there farming types with the large majority, with 83%, being smallholder, with the commercial and subsistence farmers making up 7% and 10% of the sample population respectively. [July 2018 data]
  • Ethnicity: 18% of farmers were Indo-Fijian and the other 82% were Orthodox Fijian 
  • Income: Approx $400 a month [July 2019 data]
  • Expenditure on Farming: 45% of them spent less than $300, 15% of them spent $300 and 40% spent more than $300
  • Access to Smartphones: 63% of them have smartphones, not necessarily readily available
  • Access to Data: 53% of them have data
  • Channels: 53% of them sell their produce directly in the local market, 36% of them use middlemen, 5% of them use exports and 5% of them is not applicable

 

Goals of Farmers

To further empathize and understand their needs and feelings, we have summarized their main goals and motivations: [July 2018 data]

  • Providing enough for family: 19%
  • Change in diet variety: 10%
  • Increase income: 58%
  • Reach potential: 18%
  • Improve standard of living: 12%
  • Constant food supply: 3%

 

Next Move

Future customers - Businesses as distributors

Once the application is further developed, FarmEd can focus efforts on business that have an interest in high quality and reliable produce (i.e. Hotels, bars etc). This will provide access to a large number of farmers linked to that business. In this case the business becomes our customer and they will distribute the app to their farmers. The benefit businesses will hope to receive is improved reliability and quality of produce, making it a worthwhile investment. FarmEd will reach these customers through business meetings to discuss terms of subscriptions for farmers on the business network.

Business linked farmers suffer from having to meet higher standards to function. They must be able to maintain both large quantities of production to remain competitive as well as ensuring a high level of quality so their product is valued more than regular producers.

Based on July 2018 data, we have raw data but deeper data analysis could be done, statistically comparing different customer types with different factors. This can further validate subsistence and smallholder farmers customer characteristics, and even validate our future customers who are business-linked farmers.

 

Validating the solution

The next cell in the lean canvas method is the solution block. To validate if a potential solution is suitable for each customer we are currently conducting a number of experiments. We will use currency testing to determine if smallholder farmers are interested in the current iteration of the solution (FarmEd Agriculture Pipeline). We can then further validate the solution with utility testing and solution testing to determine if farmers are able to use our current solution and receive perceivable benefit.

 

Tagged users
edited on 17th July 2019, 01:07 by (Account removed)

Jess Riley Jan 1, 2019

Status label added: Customer Segment

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