Message per week
Integrated pest management is an extremely viable and effective pest control method for
smallholders. When applied correctly as part of a holistic pest prevention programme, biological
pest controls are often cheaper, have greater efficacy and are far better for farmer health than
their chemical counterparts.
Real IPM, a member of the Biobest Group, have made significant progress making biological pesticides more widely available across East Africa. In particular, creating a series of prophylactic and curative IPM programmes which work alongside their products to maximise results.
However, as Real IPM scaled sales of their products to smallholder farmers it became hard to maintain the same level of technical support. This is a particular issue when selling via distributors, where the relationship with the farmer is indirect.
Without adequate technical support, farmers cannot reproduce the expected results, and are likely to regress back to using traditional chemical based pesticides.
Using Climate Edge’s platform, Real IPM were able to develop a technical support programme which
could be delivered to any farmer remotely via SMS. This was achieved using a combination of our
self-registration, survey and scheduled message features.
Taking an innovative approach, Real IPM advertised their unique Climate Edge shortcode on the side of their product packaging, informing farmers who bought their product that they could receive free technical support.
Farmers who subscribe to the service are asked a short series of questions (name, location, crop, age and gender). This enables Real IPM to provide tailored support to each farmer, and also enables Real IPM to conduct market research to understand who is buying the product.
After completing the survey, farmers automatically receive a series of timely agronomic messages, helping them apply the product effectively, maximising the results.
Utilising an incentive based data collection method was extremely effective at motivating
farmers to respond to the survey questions, and to accurately provide their data to Real IPM.
In general, expected response rates to SMS surveys among smallholder farmers are between 5-10%. Using Climate Edge’s platform, Real IPM were able to provide a meaningful incentive, increasing the response rate to 60%, with 46% of respondents completing the survey in its entirety.
These results are extremely high, and gave RealIPM a unique and powerful insight into who their customers are.