Describe your business opportunity/innovation/business concept. This should include your potential and/or existing product/service, vision, mission, and business model.
ISADA-Consulting is a social enterprise that focuses on empowering smallholder farmers in lowering the barriers of access to agricultural good practices and innovations. It believes in the power of information and communication technologies to achieve its goals. With our business, we will bridge the gap between agricultural information and farmers by providing farmers in Benin with Farmer Learning Videos (FLV). Benin is a country where the number of extension agents is very low compared to the number of famers they should advise. The Government is not able to provide agricultural information to all farmers. Meanwhile, farmers need genuine knowledge to fight against current issues in the context of climate change. FLV have shown their effectiveness according to several studies to provide farmers with practical agricultural information mainly in remote areas. Farmers have also shown their willingness to pay and easily adopt agricultural information from FLV. So, ISADA-Consulting developed a training system based on agricultural videos usage and “satellite approach” to rapidly spread good practices and innovations. Good practices videos are showed to farmers using smart projector mainly in remote areas. The lack of electric power in remote areas is no longer a barrier to ISADA-Consulting in training farmers. Videos are also converted into MP4/MP3format that are transferred to farmers into their phones to watch in local languages. We distribute agricultural CD/DVD too. We go from village to village for that using the “satellite approach” to spread the videos. With that approach any farmers who receives a video or follow a training bears the responsibility to share it with atleast five of his/her peers. Farmers have also the possibility to call ISADA-Consulting when confronted with difficulties related to their activities. Since its creation in 2019 more than 1000 farmers have been directly impacted. (The following link could be consulted to know more about ISADA Consulting and some studies carried out by the head of ISADA in this field:
Our mission: Organize and spread agricultural information to rural population using a smart projector that contains Farmers Learning Videos. Videos that show in a funniest way best practices to famers to fight against their constraints.
Our vision: We strongly believe in the power of Farmers learning videos to change their attitudes, behaviors, practices and, ultimately, a better world where farmers get useful information about their activities, take care about climate change, soil degradation, food security –farming is seen as a blessing not as a curse.
Our business model: We have developed a training system and tied partnership with some organizations to make our business successful. Our training model is based on a smart projector usage. We get a smart projector with a battery and solar panel that makes it possible to use even in remote areas where there is no conventional electricity. We also get a motorbike and tricycle motorbike. In practice, to provide our services to farmers or some organizations we have defined three ways. We go from village to village where we get contract with organizations or farmers associations for video projection. So, we organize during nights or days some video screening according to the convenience of our clients. We also copy them the videos in MP4 format into their phones of give them some CD/DVD of the agricultural videos. We encourage them to share the videos received with their peers. Questions could be answered after the video screening even if we have already left the village. There is a phone number for that. When the training charge is to be paid directly by farmers, we require some reasonable amount of money. It comes to let farmers paid after harvesting their products. It that case there is an agreement signed indicating who, when, how much and how to pay to avoid misunderstanding. As mentioned above, there are also some Organizations involved in agriculture sector that asked for our services to train a specific group of farmers.
Indicate why you and/or your team can capitalize on the opportunity discussed in the business description-one paragraph
We are group of 5 agronomists from different departments (agro- economy, agro-sociology, and vegetable production) who decide to use Information and Communication Technologies to revolutionize agriculture. The team is presented as follow:
Describe what makes your business enterprise and/or concept innovative and distinguishes it from your other competitor
To the best of our knowledge, there is no such an establish business in the field that provide exactly the same services as our enterprise. We are in a new environment of business where we believe that our customers are in every corner of the country (Farmers). More than 70 % of Benin working population are in agricultural domain. They need such information to grow their activities. We bring our services close to our customers. The equipment that we use to provide our services Smart projector; motorbike) and partnership we tied make our activities outstanding.
Describe how you discovered the business opportunity and/or potential innovation-one paragraph
The idea of running a business started in 2015 when I was doing my master research on the use of videos by farmers and soybean processors into cheese (soy cheese). The research has consisted to organize farmers and women into small groups and show them the Farmers Learning videos about soybean production or soy cheese processing best practices. After a year, we have tracked them to study the impact of the videos, the socioeconomic determinants of the adoption of the video and their willingness to pay the videos. Furthermore, in my PhD research in the same field –using FLV in agriculture, I discovered that, FLV are practical that have an huge impact on farmers. So, I started thinking what could I do to help numerous farmers that need useful information to better their activities? The answer to that question was just to do a business.
Describe the factors that provide your enterprise with significant competitive edge to overcome barriers.
Our force resides on the competency of the team to deal with agricultural extension as we are all agronomist with solid experience. The team has an experience on the use of Farmers Learning Videos. We have a smart project that contains more than 200 videos in agriculture in local languages. We could also directly update the videos from access agriculture website.
Sales, Marketing, and Customers
Describe characteristics of your market. Who are your potential/top customers (current and/or projected - be very specific)? What is your value proposition (suggested scheme or plan of action) to these potential or others?
We provide services to:
Our value proposition is this “Watch a video and you need no one to solve all your farm problems, the easiest way to turn farming into a real business”. From that value proposition we believe that farmers don’t need to wait any extension agent to get advice for their farming as the video could do it for them. Not every farmer get advice from extension agents as there is shortage of extension agents nationwide. We offer Farmer Learning Videos in CD or DVD. We could transfer them to farmers into their phones. We also do video screening in order to let farmers that do not get phones or video materials to watch our videos. Another advantage is that those videos are in local languages. We are also available to answer to any questions from our customers related to the video they watch. There are many categories of video to help them (cereals, roots, tubes and bananas, vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts, other crops, livestock, aquacultures, sustainable land management, integrated pest management, mechanization, business skills, approaches, climate change adaptation, food safety, nutrition, organic agriculture among others).
Who are your primary/potential competitors and what is/will be your key competitive position/advantage?
There is no really an established enterprise to the best of our knowledge in Benin that gives the same service as ours. In the research that we carried out in Benin we enumerated 24 startups that are involved in ICT usage in agriculture. None of them give the same services. We think they represent our partners. (The list of these startups could be consulted in the following article, Table 3 page 272: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348306415_Political_Innovations_for_ICT_Institutionalization_in_Benin_Agricultural_System