After a surprising first session with our pilot farmers in Kabati, we headed out on foot on day two in search of more users. Quickly we were introduced to five farmers, with whom we took 10 minutes each to educate about our platform, and to understand their concerns. Farms in Nyeri are typically small, approximately one to five acres, yet visiting them on foot in the dry heat took miles of trekking. At one farm, our guide Winnie, was made aware of a farmer meeting being held at the local Chief's office. And of course we rushed over.
After a few miles of walking on the dirt road, we turned a corner to see hundreds of farmers sitting on the ground. They were being addressed by Kabati’s Assistant Chief, a government official.
Unsure if we would be able to address the whole crowd or not, we entered slowly. Our timing was almost perfect. The farmers had been waiting nearly all day, and the meeting was finally coming to a close. The Assistant Chief interviewed us and suggested we introduce our team to the group.
Tom, our chief spokesman, gave the pilot program overview and offered those interested an opportunity to register that afternoon. Quickly, Tom and Winnie were surrounded by onion farmers, eager to sign up. In startup fashion, they took down names and phone numbers on the seat of a motorcycle. By the end of two hours we had signed up 86 farmers to the platform!
These 86 farmers were signed up in three different ways: individually, in a small group and in a large group. The individual farmers were given both full explanations of the platform and complete registrations, while the others still require visits to their farms and further explanations, especially those from the large group who were only given an overview and brief Q & A session.
Follow-ups to these registrations will be different for each group, which gives us an opportunity to learn which method of registration is most efficient and yields the highest rate of participation. We may find that a combination of these three registration methods works best.
It was our luck, in this case a lady named Winnie, that lead us to find such a large group of farmers in one day; but it will be our hard work and thoughtful follow through that will bring out the method in which we hope to register the next one hundred farmers for our pilot program.