User Research & Product Design for Agriculture Planter in Senegal with Autodesk

 In Project Summary

myAgro’s mission is to move smallholder farmers out of poverty. myAgro has developed a mobile layaway system that is based on habits and behaviors that are already part of smallholders’ lives. It relies on scratch cards –similar to mobile phone credit. Instead of having to purchase $100 for seeds and fertilizer in a lump sum, farmers can purchase a myAgro card similar to daily shopping – in increments that are small and convenient. Through this bank-less savings scheme, average harvests for myAgro farmer increase from 50% – 100% over traditional farms, and net farming income increases $150-$300 per farmer.

One of myAgro’s exciting strategies is to help farmers generate more profit from their farms is to improve the machinery. myAgro’s first machine was a precision planter, which distinguishes itself from other planters by both planting and microsoding fertilizer at the same time. In Senegal, most farmers use some sort of animal-drawn planting machine that plants but does not fertilize. Women rarely own their own planter and generally borrow or rent from a male relative. Last year, myAgro began selling its own precision planter in Senegal, after designing, testing and selling the product in Mali over several years. The uptake of this precision planter has not been as fast as myAgro would like and needs to be adapted to the Senegalese context.

To increase uptake, Autodesk marketing experts helped myAgro figure out a better design and improve messaging, branding, advertising, etc.. Specifically, the Autodesk Team4Tech team assisted in the following areas:

  • Conducted user research with farmers and used their research to segment users and identify
    opportunities for the myAgro semoir product cycle.
  • Identified and designed prototypes on Fusion 360 to improve the myAgro semoir.
  • Delivered a comprehensive marketing, sales, and training strategy.

“To me, being placed in a different culture, time zone, language, and with a set of new co-workers is a catalyst for learning.” Jeff Smith, Autodesk volunteer

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