This week on our podcast, Rich and Puff are joined by George Saggers to discuss his important work with Good Nature Agro, who is working with small-scale farmers to help lift them out of poverty and into the middle class. By using processes and tech to better understand how farmers can grow commodities effectively, Good Nature Agro can help farmers grow their output, secure sales, and improve their standards of living.
George’s Involvement with Good Nature Agro
George first went to Zambia to work with a security company and help with overseeing operations, and after several years of working within Zambia, George began working with Good Nature Agro. His role at GNA (Good Nature Agro) involves understanding the needs of farmers within Zambia and neighbouring countries to be able to improve GNA’s overall offering to farmers throughout the process.
George works with farmers to help understand their needs and ways in which GNA can help them to grow their business, whether that is through helping them finance a deal, by helping them to select a more profitable crop or by assisting them work their land in a more efficient manner.
Changing the lives of farmers for the better
When working with farmers, the key questions that need to be answered are:
- What are they going to grow this season?
- Where are they getting their input?
- How are they going to pay for it?
- Where are they going to sell their product?
GNA has a model in place to help these farmers answer these questions:
- Select – Guaranteed sales contract for growers
- Train – Knowledgeable person-to-person trainers
- Finance – Custom inputs package for growers
- Market – High-Value market when selling to GNA
By effectively growing commodities and ensuring that farmers are productively working their land, GNA is able to help lift many farmers out of poverty and become self-sufficient. This allows farmers to access education, food, healthcare and household items that improve their lives dramatically.
The challenges surrounding tech in rural Africa
GNA’s approach helps farmers pull themselves out of poverty through impactful tech solutions. However, working in conditions such as Zambia where the infrastructure and technological literacy can be rudimentary in places, means rethinking approaches to the UI and process. Examples such as a cog to symbolise ‘settings’, which might be clear to a typical smartphone user, but to someone who may never have used a smartphone before, this has to be carefully considered when approaching the user’s experience. Designing thoughtful solutions such as alternatives to Google Maps as Google maps often does not work in the region, so alternative solutions are often needed to support drivers of trucks for example.
Other considerations such as mobile data usage and hardware are considerations too, such as convincing farmers that their expensive phones are actually useful tools that can assist them with their farming processes. Changing attitudes towards technology and towards the adoption of technology in places where traditional ways of farming are prevalent is a real challenge, but through clever design and application, George and the GNA team are empowering farmers to revolutionise the way they approach their work.
Whilst there are challenges, technology gives GNA the opportunity to reach farmers across Africa who all have individual needs and requirements. Being able to do things such as take deposits, transfer money, provide data and track progress all help GNA to work more effectively with farm owners and suppliers in the region.
Listen now for the full discussion
To hear the entirety of our great conversation with George, listen using the links below!
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