Monday, April 20, 2009

A Day in My Life: Farmer Interviews

It is critical that any social enterprise have a deep understanding of the customer it is trying to serve. At Micro Drip, we conduct in-depth farmer interviews using various techniques in order to understand the particular farmer’s circumstances along with how he makes decisions. Many thanks to IDEO for their Human Centered Design Toolkit which served as a guide for our work.


Dustin Overbeck said...

Joel, Very interesting videos! I think it's great what you are doing.

If there's a definite cost-benefit in farmers using drip irrigation, what sort of barriers are there that prevent Pakistani farmers from moving forward with it? Do they have a start-up cost, or are there other reasons that make it difficult to transition to drip irrigation?

Joel said...

Dustin. Thanks for perusing my videos on life in Pakistan. One of the biggest barriers to poor farmer's adopting drip irrigation is cash flow. We've found that it is critical to link farmers with some sort of microfinance in order to enable them to purchase. Compared to what they pay for inputs (see, fertilizer, etc.), a drip irrigation system is a major capital expense. Larger farmers, on the other hand, can easily pay out of pocket. Another big barrier is the fact that there currently is not market for drip irrigation right now in Pakistan. We are coming to farmers who have been using flood irrigation for generations and telling them that the "improvement" that flood represents is actually hurting their crops. It's a tough sell in the beginning as everyone is skeptical. Most want to see the system working on the ground for 2-3 years before they will consider purchasing. Right now, we are doing market research to identify the characteristics of early adopters. Thanks for your interest.

bidya said...

I really appreciate your efforts.
It would better if you expand the work in the developing countries' farmers.I think, in Nepal there are many fertile land and because of lack of irrigation the land became a wastage.Please think about it if you could do something.
We are always with you.

Joel said...

Thanks Bidya for your interest. At the moment, Micro Drip is focusing on Pakistan, but there are lots of companies that are trying to make drip irrigation available around the world. It will only rise in importance with the water issues that the world is beginning to face.

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