Understanding the needs of female farmers & market vendors for an agriculture marketplace app

Client Partners
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Accelerator Labs, UN Women, UN Pacific Financial Inclusion Program
  • Fiji
  • Focus Groups
  • Card Sorting
  • Ethnography
  • Participatory Design
  • Prototype Testing

PacFarmer is an innovative smartphone app designed and operated by the UN’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP). The app provides relevant information to farmers in Fiji and offers a marketplace that connects them to market vendors and other buyers in the agricultural value chain. The PFIP, in conjunction with the UN’s Accelerator Labs and UN Women, hired Digital Disruptions in early 2020 to lead a two-week design thinking project to specifically understand the needs and challenges of female farmers and market vendors so as to increase adoption.

Approach & Outcome

Digital Disruptions’ methodology involved leading several women-only focus groups (and a few men-only groups, for comparative purposes) of farmers and market vendors to understand better their core needs, technology comfort level, and, using a card sorting technique, the most valuable features of the current app. We also visited some female farmers’ homes and villages to gain insight into their day-to-day lives and how the app may better serve them.

We then invited a handful of farmers to a brainstorming session to increase the app’s relevance. We quickly built a low-fidelity prototype that afternoon and tested it out with other farmers and market vendors the day after. The user research findings from the testing served as a basis for a rich set of both short-term tactical fixes and longer-term, strategic recommendations to the UN to increase adoption in Fiji and possible expansion in other countries.

Digital Disruptions provided a thorough assessment of the PFIPs PacFarmer app, and facilitated an engaging Human-Centered Design (HCD) session with not only multiple UN agencies but also female farmers and market vendors to come up with ideas for new features.

Praneel Pritesh
Financial Inclusion Specialist,
United Nations Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP)

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