April 27, 2022
A Demo Plot Farmer Story
Over the last 2 years, Jiva has run over a hundred demo plots to test the efficacy of our agronomy advisory. The results have been staggering; we’ve seen some farmers increase their yield by 200%. Earlier this year, we had successfully wrapped up our fourth round of demo plot programme. I took this opportunity to speak to Hasri, one of the demo plot farmers, who relocated back from the city to work on the family farm which was beginning to fail. He explained, “the plot had potential and it simply needed the right person to handle it.”
Farmers have long dedicated themselves to methods that they’ve learned from generation to generation, so naturally, when Jiva and the demo plot programme was first introduced to Hasri, he was hesitant. Through many trials and errors, he had been managing the field by himself. According to him, “to be offered farming advice along with inputs procurement was unheard of.” However, he was eager to make better results in order to provide for his family.
From the start of the demo plot programme, Hasri could see that this was going to be a different experience. Jiva provided digital assistance through our mobile application for farmers. Series of advice and instructions could be accessed instantly, our “pocket agronomist” helped Hasri discover new knowledge and refine his existing ones. He stated, “I used to plant several seeds in one hole, that’s what my father taught me. From the programme, I know now that the proper way is to plant one seed in one hole.” Such is a simple act that is often overlooked by farmers, yet it is one of the major yield-improving changes farmers can make.
Pest and disease are also one of the most common problems that Hasri often face on the field. His inquiries to local traders and fellow farmers would sometimes result in more harm than good for his crops. At best, Hasri would purchase items that were recommended without the information on how much should be applied. “When we apply poison or pesticides, we usually just trust our gut, so we never paid attention to the dosage,” he then added, “but since I joined the programme, I have been well-informed about how to use poison and pesticides properly — which ingredients to look for and how much I should apply to my crops.” At the end of the season, the result of his yield was immense. His crops were thriving and he achieved a 40% increase in his yield — from 1.8 tonnes to 2.6 tonnes!
Hasri’s story serves as a reminder for why we are building Jiva; to fundamentally improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Our demo plot programmes have proven out that Jiva’s advice can achieve incredible yield improvements, and give us the chance to test and tailor our products and systems to ensure that they better match on-ground realities. After all, why build it if it isn’t going to be used, or is not going to work once it’s in the wild. Our goal is not to try and replace them, but rather, to blend the future and the past.
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