The issue of sustainability has been a big issue to consider for our team. African governments are often dependent on aid for establishing projects, so with underfunded governments that may struggle to maintain a project it's important to consider possible alternative revenue streams.
Late in the evening of the hackathon we met with Mr Collins Stewart, CTO of AWhere, a global leading firm that sells climate data to precision farmers and consultants who work pretty much like extension officers.
After deciding on the product concept and targeted audience, the team been struggling with the sustainability of the dashboard. We acknowledge that the transfer of data from the met office, running this dashboard and engagement of any analytical or software developer shall have to incur a cost.
This cost will be borne by the same government institution that is currently struggling to support an extension officer, who keeps in contact with the agricultural, in some of the outreach programs. Resource allocation at a government level is very stretched and it was widely agreed that an alternative revenue stream needs to be established.
So we asked Mr Stewart to provide his business brain to this “small” problem. So immediately after dinner we were able to pick his brain.
Mr Stewart challenged the team to continue thinking out of the box. And in actual sense, after talking to him, we were like.. “HUH, hat Box”?
Talking to a businessman was very useful. He pointed out the possible revenue streams and how we could integrate them into the dashboard. Ideas such as selling the same information to agricultural products and services’ vendors came up. These privately run companies would pay good money to know where there is need for fertilisers and seeds and at what times.
In terms of operations, the Awhere (premium service information provider) information that can be pulled via an Application Program Interface (API) coupled with ground GPS points will be extremely helpful to the AEO as it will provide granular info up to a specific farm. This of course will be quite a lot to digest for a single officer on charge of about 1000 farmers, but it will still be useful when sending out warnings and suggesting mitigations to specific farmers.
We have worked through the night to try and incorporate these suggestions and there is only so much that can be done…