Who is Farmer Pedro?

Farmer Pedro by Jeroen Meijer, JAM visual design

If we were to arrive at a synthesized view of your average subsistence farmer, lets call him Pedro, how would we describe him? What is Farmer Pedro’s story?

He grows enough to keep body and soul going, his first priority is always feeding his own family before selling any grain to the market.

Perhaps this is the biggest difference in mindset between the funders, initiators and implementers of sustainable agricultural programs for the Bottom of the Pyramid and the farmers themselves.

Nobody in the fancy airconditioned rooms where people debate on the social and economic futures of milions has ever had to do something so fundamental for their family and their own survival. Farmers are entrepreneurs and businessmen in mainstream consumer culture whereas subsistence farmers are fathers and husbands first, who must take care of their family’s needs.

This is true even if the “farmer” in question is a woman.

The values gap concept is one from my consumer research among the Bottom of the pyramid or BoP markets, where the value propositions of the producers may not always translate across the social, cultural and geographical divide.  When locals speak of the introduction of foreign ideas as “alien matter to be rejected like an organ transplant gone bad” that is a signal to listen, not to brush it off as “co-creation”.

Top down empowerment is a non sequitor.

This entry was posted in Africa, Assumption filter, Base of the Pyramid, Cashless transactions, Consumer Behaviour, Flexibility, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Research, rural, User research. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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