ManejeBem is a social network for farmers. The platform for small farmers aims to encourage the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, add value to production and allow greater intelligence in the control of pests and diseases, with the creation of alerts and the connection between users.
According to data from the Brazilian agricultural research organization (Embrapa, 2017), the annual losses caused by pests and diseases in Brazilian agriculture are 55 billion of reals. The presence of more technical assistance in the field could reduce these losses.
Through the ManejeBem (Social network for farmers), we intend to use technology to transmit knowledge and connect people with different experiences. The creation of the chatbot and the structuring of the remote technical assistance will give scale and reach to the offered service. The tool will allow the scheduling of technical visits through the platform and as a channel of direct communication for the agronomic follow-up to shorten the distance between technical assistance and small producers.
Farmers have a bad time looking for agronomists specialized in certain pests and crops, in this process they can lose their crops. With our experience working with farmers in Brazil, they are starting to use the internet to find faster solutions to their problems. We are developing a solution to offer remote technical assistance in agriculture for capacity building in sustainable rural development at family farming scale.
Farmers suffer from a lack of technical assistance in the field. 75.98% of Brazilian rural workers do not have any specialized technical assistance (ASBRAER, 2014). This lack of aid, in turn, negatively impacts the production chain, production costs, farmer's quality of life, family income and the conservation of natural resources (IMAFLORA, 2016).
ManejeBem is a solution created to facilitate the diffusion of information and connection between technicians and farmers to mitigate the lack of specialized technical assistance in sustainable production and positively impact the lives of family farmers. We generate impacts in the reduction of economic losses with diseases and pests due to the higher intelligence and speed in the diagnosis and resolution of recurrent problems in the plantations, incentive for better use of the natural resources, rational use of agrochemicals, reduction of the production costs and the aid to the adoption of green technologies.
By providing remote assistance service at affordable prices to small producers, project consulting and training for farmers offer the qualification necessary for small producers are able to access new markets. Through a service marketplace, we provide visibility and generate work opportunities for technicians to work remotely and in person using the platform as a working tool (dissemination, scheduling of technical visits, the direct communication channel between technician and farmer, the platform to purchase hours of service). Through a marketplace of partner companies, we connect companies that offer solutions that generate opportunities, whether focused on financial sustainability and/or environmental sustainability, with farmers for the development of family farming.
In the world, there are around 570 million rural properties. Since an individual or a family manage 90% and depend mainly on family labor (FAO, 2014). According to the last agricultural census made by the IBGE (2006), there are 5,175,636 of production units in Brazil. Of these, 4.4 million are small properties or 86%. Mobile Internet access in rural areas increased from 4% to 24% in four years and households in rural areas with the internet increased by 27% in 2015 (MCTIC, 2015). In Latin America, some countries like Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Costa Rica present a situation similar to that of Brazil. However, in other Latin American countries, this percentage of connected may be lower. The use of smartphones and connectivity in the field has been growing and generating opportunities for the creation of new tools.
ManejeBem's proposal is to add value to the production of family agriculture and facilitate the acquisition of services and solutions that generate opportunities for the smallholders. Unlike competitors, our focus is the small farmer and we are creating an important network of technicians to build trust in the platform. Many of ManejeBem's competitors only act on one of the fronts or are fully online platforms, or are totally unrelated services of information systems. Our venture’s sources of competitive advantage are the market growth opportunities for organic and meet the pressure of society that craves healthier foods. The dissemination of related contents and the linking of the brand to the motto "Connect to Sustainable Agriculture" is one of the strategies to segment the public that will be interested in the products, and services offered in the marketplace and position the brand as a reference in sustainable agricultural production.
Our strategy is to assist farmers with information and advisory services to produce food more sustainably and serve the emerging market, ensuring increased productivity and income for the farmer. Harness the strength of connections between those involved in the food production chain for opportunities to form new partnerships. Offer more customized products with high added value for the farmer. Generate connections between farmers and professionals and/or green technologies that help in obtaining sustainable products to strengthen the chain. In this way, reduce the threat of the emergence of substitute technologies/products, beyond our knowledge.
Some of the entrance barriers are related to the risks regarding the connectivity in the field and adoption of the new technology. That can be overcome by the increment of solution of sending of SMS in the platform. There is also the possibility to act via technology "ambassadors" in the region that would bring farmers' demands to the platform. Another entrance barriers are the size of the team that impacts directly on the limitation of force for sales. The weaknesses of limited resources and staff size can hinder market growth opportunities. As a result, fewer farmers are served and consequently a reduction in the supply of products with high added value. The weaknesses found may also potentiate the threat of large companies by targeting the sustainable food market and launching new products and services that replace us.