Thank you Chioma. Please find responses to your queries below:
How long has Just Farming existed? Who will be working on this idea?
Just Farming is a little more than a year old. It is an agro-business that ensures smallholders are placed at the heart of high value supply chains to retailers, food processors and importers. One of the products Just Farming is offering is mango, both for export and domestic retail and processing.
MangoScan, if implemented, will add great value by helping our suppliers determine the exact time of harvest and guarantee high-quality and tasty mangoes for our valued customers.
This idea will be implemented by three consortium partners including Just Farming. Each partner of the consortium has very specific and significant role in developing MangoScan. Single Sparks will bring in international expertise and introduce the business-in-a-box concept. Crosswise Works will build network with international partners and bring in relevant knowledge and expertise from them. In consultation with Single Spark, Just Farming will develop the toolkit that is tailored to local needs and adapted to local context.
What evidence do you have that the low-tech option will produce superior outcomes relative to farmers’ subjective judgment?
The low-tech option comes in the form of a manual with specific and easy guidelines on what indicators to look for in order to test firmness, maturity and overall quality of mangoes. Currently, farmers use their complete subjective judgement based on experience and do not necessarily follow any criterion or guidelines for that. The low-tech manual will allow them to make reliable objective judgement on various parameters of the fruit that will aid decision-making with regard to harvest time and grading based on quality. We are developing a manual similar to the one attached here.
Hi I'm Steve, an agricultural economist who is reviewing your idea. How will the "high tech" components of the advanced kit "fit" with the generally low tech infrastructure capabilities of small holder agriculture?
We will bring in existing mango quality testing tools from abroad, and include this in the package with the manual, designed as a business in a box solution. The prices of the tools are as follow:
1. Penetrometer – It tests firmness and currently costs around Euro 177 2. Refraktometer – It tests SSS and priced at Euro 70
Each small-holder mango grower will not need to buy a separate toolkit each. Mango growers are formed into groups of 25 members and often engage in bulk purchase and sales to gain from economies of scale. The famers will purchase the toolkit as a group and provide quality testing services to all members within the group. This will make it possible for small-holders to benefit from the technology.
What do you expect will be the cost of this to small holder farmers? Will the markets that they supply reward them for this type of change? If not, what would be their incentives to adopt your idea?
This innovation will indeed benefit all actors across the mango value chain, from farmers till consumers. Mango farmers and traders will benefit by marketing and offering guaranteed improved quality mangoes at higher prices. At the same time, less wastage will result in reduced cost of production and thereby higher margins. Consumers will enjoy improved quality and tastier mangoes
The overall cost of the MangoScan toolbox will be within Euro 200-300.
The tool will help farmers reduce cost of production in number of ways. Mango growers in rural Bangladesh are currently restricted because of unpredictable quality and often significant wastage. MangoScan helps determine the maturity stage of mangoes, allowing farmers decide exactly when to harvest, and thereby minimize post-harvest loss. This results in significant reduction in costs.
The current market scenario is more advantageous towards the traders. Since the mango growers have no objective means to guarantee the quality of their produce, they cannot claim a desired price for the same. Mango traders determine the price of mangoes based on their assessment and the farmer has to accept whatever he is offered, often at a loss. MangoScan will give an upper hand to mango growers who can now claim the high quality of their produce with enough credibility. This will enhance their negotiation power, earning them improved market prices.
Hi, interesting reading about your idea. Food safety is a issue of concern among small-holder farmers here in Bangladesh as well. We are also working towards ensuring food safety and connecting small-holders to high value premium markets. Good to come across similar initiatives across other parts of the globe. Keep up the good work !!!
Hi Simon, I think this is a particularly interesting and useful tool for small-holders in the context of developing countries. The fact that you have decided to keep it simple and not make it mandatory to have smart phones, make it an unique idea in itself. Appreciate that you thought out for female farmers in this context also. All the best.