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- In-house data collection tool that works anytime, anywhere
- The app contributes to the ambition of connecting 15 million Smallholder Farmers
- Worldwide demand for the deployment of the tool
Speeding up to zero carbon
Rabobank is helping over 100,000 smallholder farmers in developing countries transition to agroforestry with the help of Acorn. Acorn is responsible for monitoring biomass, issuing CO2 credits, and ensuring that farmers receive 80% of the income. Honest data input is crucial to obtain precise results from its own calculation model. That is why Rabobank intends to collect data in-house and commissioned us to develop an easy-to-use data collection tool that can be used anywhere and anytime.
Usability research in the wild.
Feedback from thousands of miles away proved indispensable. An app that has to work optimally offline and in situations that are literally far away requires on-site research. In our suitcase back went, among other things, the following learnings: The limited digital knowledge level of users, impact of the difficult terrain on usability of buttons and what excessive sunlight demands of usability.
The market for Carbon Credits is diffuse. There is no unambiguous quality standard and the risk of greenwashing is therefore present among credit providers. Acorn makes Carbon Credits available in a fair way; transparent, traceable and with correct data. In addition, the credits are only offered to vetted companies that have made every effort to minimize their emissions.
With agroforestry (land use system), farmers grow trees on land used for crops or livestock. As trees grow, carbon is stored from the atmosphere. Land quality improves, farmer income increases and biodiversity is restored. Acorn uses satellite technology to measure tree growth annually. This growth is converted by an in-house developed mathematical model into stored CO2, and only this already stored CO2 is offered as Carbon Credit.
To get the right result from the calculation model, correct data as input is essential. How big is the farmer's area, what shape is it and what type of crops are growing there. We have developed a data collection tool for Rabobank Acorn that works in an area with no or poor data connection and is well suited for a target group that has a low digital knowledge level. With this, Acorn has the tool in-house to monitor optimal security of valuable data and is thus not dependent on third parties. A logical desire given the nature of the client. In view of the total size of Smallholder Farmers (500 million worldwide), the tool is easily scalable. And essential in fulfilling the ambition of connecting 15 million Smallholder Farmers.
Use in the field
The data collection tool is now being actively used by project coordinators in Africa. Acorn helps Smallholder Farmers around the world. Project coordinators worldwide have inquired about when they can start using the tool. The tool ensures consistent data retrieval, eliminates measurement conflicts with adjacent farmers and is easy to use. A project coordinator is able to take more and more precise measurements with the data collection tool than before.
Native Android app and web environment
Move developed a native Android app for Rabobank in which data is collected and a web environment in which the data is reviewed and forwarded to the computational model.
The choice of native was easy, as the data collection tool must work without a data connection. The data collector walks with the app along the outer edge of the farmland and collects data consistently. Once there is a connection, the data is sent to the web environment. Here the project coordinator can assess whether the data is valid, what conflicts there are and suggests a solution.
Essential inputs gathered through field research
The users only have Android devices. Through field research in Kenya, we collected essential input that changed the User Interface. Bas, UX designer at Move, experienced the erratic terrains in Kenya when he tested the first version with data collectors. We also found that the User flows had to be adapted to the knowledge level of the users. We created a foolproof design to overcome the low digital skills of the data collectors. Field research in Kenya was thus the way to optimize the app.
In January 2023, the data collector app and web environment were released. This ensures the right quality of data and realizes ownership for Rabobank. It is being actively used in Africa, in a number of initial pilots with several tens of thousands of farmers. Scaling up to India and South America, among others, is planned in the short term. There is enormous demand for the tool from project coordinators worldwide.