Is effective extension any more just a job for Governments or is it increasingly a private sector fucntion. tied to supply contracts? Governments seem to have failed disnally at providing viable extension services over the years.
We’ve found that sustainable impact, from a business perspective, is based upon our targeted customers achieving a measurable ROI. This ROI provides a definable capability to both re-invest and drive livelihood increases. In understanding a first point of entry, relative to an asset generating profit, small-holder agriculture provides an focusable strategy.
As you rightly mentioned, ICT is a good vehicle for information dissemination but there is to be farmer owned entity which would enable them with technology not in few area of crop production but throughout. For example, In India, Farmer Producer Organization uses mKRISHI as technology tool to help farmers starting from crop selection to selling their produces
We are working on a model that turns extension services into a service farmers can pay for
less than 20% of African adults have access to Financial services so access to loans, insurance, credit is fundamental as noted by Alexa and Stéphanie.
Assuming therefore that the extension service will deliver innovations that have a tangible economic return so they can afford it? Is it tied at all to microcredit provision?
HI I am KC Mishra.Founder of eKutir.Sorry for joining late due to power problem here in India .
I have designed a last mile model to address to the problems of the Farmers
I agree Morgane! One interesting model for dissemination of best practices is Digital Green, an organization that uses simple videos to offer Indian farmers agriculture trainings.
Hi Stephanie, we completely agree with your summary. We would also note that channel development, from both a “supply” and “demand” perspective, is quite important. As we’ve worked with partners to transition small-holder famers to more “cash crops,” we’ve found that an operational demand channel is critical in ensuring the efficient movement of produce into the appropriate areas of commerce.
Ok everyone, let's move on to the second question...
Q2: What are the some of the key challenges facing innovators when designing products, services and business models for the rural and urban poor?
I think innovation will come from new models for extension services. And the new models will be mixes between public and private. In many input industries, we see the companies themselves doing the knowledge sharing and even training extension workers.
Just following on from this discussion between Vincent and Morgane - there is great potential for the private sector to deliver advisory services to farmers, but there has to be a business model associated with the delivery of advice, as not many farmers are prepared to pay for knowledge, but they will pay for a good quality pack of seed, and the advice can be embedded in the cost of the product. I published a blog in the design expo on this very topic you might be interested in reading: http://community.businessfightspoverty.org/profiles/blogs/lewis-tem...
One of the biggest challenges facing innovators is how to involve women in BOP distribution systems in a meaningful way. Generally, it’s much easier to involve women at the lowest levels (e.g. saleswomen) rather than at higher levels of managers. CARE’s social enterprise Jita has doubled the incomes of its 3,500+ saleswomen- which is great- but the people who run the wholesalers which supply the women are almost universally men. Breaking this barrier is the next great challenge.
It's a great point Sampath because the ag value chain needs all actors to Partner together and benefit from a more successful agricultural sector. So connecting farmers, ag-input industries, processors, retails, research organizations and goverment is crucial but also very difficult to do well.
Selvan, can you provide more information on the PRIDE model? How does it work?
Thanks Alexa, and great to hear about the work Care's doing in Bangladesh. I'd love to hear more and share learning. I'm the Senior Advisor for youth livelihoods at the IRC and we're just finalising an impact evaluation of its microfranchise work in Kenya working with over 2,000 girls in the Nairobi slums - the report is due at the end of the year and I'll circulate it then. As you say, a very promising model and one we're exploring its application for branded product and service marketing/distribution, as well as supply of inputs for agribusinesses
Innovation requires both a private and a public effort. One of the main challenges faced by innovators in implementing their revolutionary products or business models is the multitude of local and regional contexts that make it difficult to apply a one-size fits all implementation plan. Much of investment in innovation and R&D in the developing world is undertaken by foreign or multinational companies, which often lack the grasp of local practices, customs, and traditional knowledge. Therefore, fostering dialogue and cooperation between local communities and investors is essential. This can be done in regional forums, workshops and knowledge fairs. In addition, as they grow businesses in developing countries should be encouraged to invest in innovation. Growing and innovating from within is important to sustained economic growth that translates into better livelihoods.
Scaling up of existing initiatives and dissemination and knowledge sharing that is cross-sectorial and cross-geographical is important. What works in Uganda may not exactly fit a community in the Philippines but sharing best practices and promoting ‘innovation champions’ can both inspire and enable local leadership and communities to take up a model and adapt it to their context.
You may visit a BoP business model at http://www.bidnetwork.org/en/plan/182506 and could be replicate any rural area.
Hi Zahid, great question! In many ways, we’ve adopted a philosophy of “designing” for rural communities, based upon small-holder farmer intimacy, needs identification and “pain point” mitigation. However, engagement extends beyond good design and encompasses “serviceability.” Noting the complex rural logistics associated with a sustainable business model, a service proposition must be built into the product design.
In addition, there's a lot of talk on models to sell to the BOP, but much less on how best to source from them. This is a huge gap. But it’s also very challenging to do because BOP producers tend to be quite small and often quite inefficient. A lot of capacity building is needed before these models can work. One example of how CARE has done this is in through “Living Blue”, a cooperative of indigo harvesters and artisans in rural Bangladesh. These landless farmers use indigo which has been grown on the sides of the roads to make some truly beautiful products that are sold on the high streets of France, Canada and Australia.