Pioneer had previously demonstrated the 16-farmer co-op model had additional benefits for dairy farmers in the Philippines. Local bankers were willing to collateralize a farmer’s cow, enabling loans for seeds and supplies. A new dairy operation soon sprouted, greatly enhancing the distribution of milk, which in turn boosted the local economy.
What was needed was an interactive maize field guide and hybrid chooser that would work in the middle of nowhere on a laptop. So that’s what we did.
The Pioneer Maize Field Guide was designed for use by France-based representatives who would travel to developing countries and meet with famers. Actually, I was surprised that it still works pretty well after 16 years. Here’s the link.
With the field guide, a Pioneer rep could quickly figure out the best corn hybrid for any farmer’s unique needs. When reconnected to the internet, the field guide would enable the rep to connect with Pioneer, determine hybrid availability, register the order, and get the seeds into the hands of farmers for the next planting season. Micro-financing options were soon to be available.
Sadly, Pioneer was sold to DuPont a week after we’d signed up our Tanzanian farmers, and the company’s philanthropic focus shifted away. Here’s a link for more stuff on my website.
It was a great idea then, and maybe an even better idea now.
What do you think?