Monday, May 15 • 14:15 - 14:55
How did a farmers' knowledge network morph into a market access service? LIMITED

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Yikes! We are prototyping a mobile phone based knowledge network and extension service for farmers. But farmers seem to not want it. What are we to do?

This is the origin story of Krishi Janani. It started with a two-way text messaging platform that was built to monitor health care service delivery in Uganda. Another potential use case would be to utilize the software to build out a knowledge network that will serve as a local-language extension service in India. The prototype launched in 2015. Farmers can text message their questions about everything from input application to pest attacks. The network will send them answers and solutions. All of it will be captured in a central data repository. Other farmers can review available solutions, rate their effectiveness, suggest tweaks, and keep building out the repository. Brilliant idea. Or so we thought.

There was only one problem. Farmers did not want to pay for it. Why? Krishi Janani scaled back, to relaunch as farmers’ trading company in 2016. How did we discover this idea? We scaled back our initial ambitious vision, changed the technology stack, opened business centers in villages, and created rural infrastructure. None of this was planned. So, how did we fare?

Come to the session to find out how a technology project morphed into an innovative business model taking measured strides towards sustainability and profitability.

avatar for Usha Devi Venkatachalam

Usha Devi Venkatachalam

CEO & CTO, Krishi Janani
CEO & CTO of Krishi Janani, a social enterprise in India that is aggregating farmers’ purchasing power to reduce expenses. CEO of Appropriate IT, a social enterprise harnessing technology to advance social justice, equitable access, & inclusive international development. 15+ years... Read More →

Monday May 15, 2017 14:15 - 14:55 IST