Grassroots demand is the undisputable driver for our industry. When farmers learn about good agricultural practices, they generally make the connection to productivity and profits. Retailers make an exhausting effort to educate farmers about pest control, productivity and soil health. But who educates the retailers and supports their efforts with farmers?
Distributors in emerging economies understand that pull-through demand is the cornerstone of their prosperity. The ability for agriculture businesses to thrive depends on farmers’ likelihood to buy into a technology or agronomic protocol. With the absence of extension services in much of the developing world, it is the responsibility of private industry to do so.
None of us are immune from this responsibility. Multinational companies invest millions to ensure their message about product use, good agriculture practices and stewardship resonates through the value chain. Competing with multinationals should be more than securing international contracts and distribution deals; it means we all must invest in campaigns that help build a knowledge base at the farm level and help fuel demand for our products – products that are desperately needed in much of the world.
Crop protection information links inextricably to good agricultural practices. These basic guidelines about the safe handling, application and disposal of crop protection products, as well as equipment maintenance, can help farmers be more efficient, effective and profitable, thereby encouraging the continued consumption of agriculture technologies.
Hallmarks of Demand Creation
For an industry as technical as agriculture, our demand creation often begins with agronomy guides. These are an excellent way to bring information to the end user and reinforce decisions farmers make about the adoption of technology. However, they fall short of creating talking points for farmers to discuss with their families and peers.
- Farmers should be proud of what they do. Their livelihood nourishes communities and provides jobs. We have an excellent history, and we need to provide talking points to farmers to they can articulate the back story of agriculture productivity. Takeaway: Be prepared to discuss the positive economic, societal and environmental impacts that agriculture has around the world. Include these points in marketing materials for distributors so they can pass along the message to farmers.
- Agriculture is local, and so is the message that resonates with each audience. Weather patterns, pest occurrences, soil fertility and demand factors all make farming communities different. Takeaway: The more that agronomic advice, good agriculture practices and product recommendations can be localized, the more likely retailers and farmers will adopt a crop protection prescription.
- Sales and product adoption is a mix of demand, emotion and careful evaluation. The better we can identify the trigger that persuades farmers to use fungicides and other higher-value products, the more predictable the value chain will be. Takeaway: The start of a conversation often begins with agronomic utility, but the deciding factor will probably be the economic advantages of crop protection and higher production.
What are your ideas? Send your favorite way to generate demand at the global, regional, national or local level to email@example.com and you could earn a guest column in the magazine.