Since 2014, the GSMA mAgri programme has been working closely with six mobile network operators (MNOs) across Asia and Sub-saharan Africa to research, design, launch and iterate agri VAS content services targeting rural smallholder famers. As of December 2016, 3.2 million users have accessed these services (approximately 27 per cent of the addressable market in these countries), with more and more users being added each month. The potential of Agri VAS to drive behaviour change is proven by regular users reporting significantly more on-farm changes than comparable non-users (e.g. planting, land management, harvesting) – over one million users are estimated to have made changes globally. Further details will be made available in the global report which will be published in the coming weeks.
Some of the most successful elements of our engagement with grantees occurred through field focus sessions where we were able to collaboratively share and address a variety of problems each operator was facing with their service; many of the ideas generated through these sessions were implemented when the teams arrived back home. We now want to offer this approach online via the mAgri Priority Learning Partners (PLP) so that we can share ideas and address problems in a collaborative manner.
Today, the mAgri programme is launching our PLP initiative and invites stakeholders actively engaged in the use of mobile for agriculture to join us in contributing to a series of blogs, webinars and case studies which will serve to share lessons and insights from around the globe. The programme will be highlighting many of our learnings from the work that we have been involved in and look forward to comparing these with lessons generated in other markets.
Beyond knowledge-sharing, engaging with the PLP will also provide stakeholders with the opportunity to receive specific support from the mAgri programme such as:
- VAS benchmarking;
- Introductions to potential collaboration partners;
- Sharing customised best practices, and
- On-ground support through in country workshops.
Who will benefit most from the mAgri PLP? Who is the PLP aimed at?
The PLP will be of most benefit to operators and service providers with an existing Agri VAS service or those who are considering deploying such a service. The mAgri programme has specialists in market engagement, content development and business intelligence analytics and we shall be sharing insights from all of these areas over the coming 12 months.
How will MNOs and service providers benefit from joining the mAgri PLP?
The PLP will bring together stakeholders from around the world to share practical examples of how certain challenges have been successfully overcome, for instance have you had to overcome any or all of the following questions:
- How do MNOs best promote VAS services?;
- How do MNOs develop localised and contextualised content?;
- Which monetisation models are best for our specific audience?; and
- How do we make the service sustainable?
Maybe you are still working on solutions to these answers? By contributing and sharing insights with the PLP, you will be brought into contact with other stakeholders working on similar problems and may be able to adapt successes from other markets in your own deployment. The mAgri team will be on hand to share our own lessons generated over six years of working in this area.
Having also focused on a user centric design process with our recent grantees, the mAgri programme will also share practical examples of how services have been adapted based on the results of this field research and the importance of understanding how ideas in the office can be misinterpreted in the field. PLP contributors will share examples of how tools and models included in the Agri VAS toolkit have been modified for particular settings.
In addition, for PLP participants who wish to gain additional insight into how their service compares to peers regionally and globally we shall be conducting service-specific benchmarking reports. This will not only provide a snapshot of your products ranks against a variety of factors, but also help identify areas for further product improvements.
How do I join the mAgri PLP?
Space in the PLP is limited and priority will be given to those who are actively engaged in developing or deploying Agri VAS products. To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the PLP communications, please complete this two minute questionnaire.
We shall be sharing more updates soon and look forward to welcoming you to the mAgri PLP initiative!