Rural Horizons is Solidaridad’s expert system, developed to support the continual improvement of agricultural production. Developed in Brazil, Rural Horizons is currently active in the South American markets of Brazil and Paraguay and is being scaled up to five countries in three continents.
Rural Horizons assists individual farmers, their cooperatioves and commercial partners with a carefully designed step-by-step process towards more sustainable agricultural production. Rural Horizons consists of a unique methodology, backed up by an information system, providing farmers, associations and partners with a set of tools specifically designed to identify challenges, plan adjustments and monitor progress.
Most important in the context of this assignment is a ‘self-assessment guide’, the results of which generate a ‘tailored-made roadmap’ to assist the farmer to implement necessary changes in order to reach higher levels of sustainability. These tools aim at empowering farmers in controlling the continual improvement of their production system, while making knowledge on sustainable production accessible. The tools are available both as online services and in print.
Solidaridad invited Waag to help further develop this approach by adapting and improving both user experience design and user interaction features. For this, Waag designed a co-creation strategy and workshop with a strong focus on growing ownership and buy-in from farmers. In the workshop, we will explore a number of different strategies and accompany (digital) tools that will enable small to midsize farmers (mainly illiterate, not or not always connected to internet or other telecommunication facilities) to do a self-assessment on the sustainability of their farm and the participants will prototype the best solution. The results will be consolidated in a report and a toolkit. This enables Solidaridad to share the results within its network with its stakeholders not present at the co-creation session.
The adapted version of Rural Horizons aims to enable Solidaridad to reach farmers with a low educational level, while reducing the need for (costly) individual and personal consultancy, as well as to reach more farmers in other countries and/or producing different crops.