A SWFF field evaluator visited Mozambique in July and August 2018 to carry out an impact assessment of ThirdEye’s innovation FutureWater.
With the help of drones, FutureWater detects crop stress at an early stage and the information is passed on to affected farmers. Between 2014 and 2017, the innovation reached around 3,000 farmers and over 1,500 ha of land in Kenya and Mozambique.
The field evaluator carried out interviews with 62 randomly selected farmers who had used the service in two provinces in Mozambique. The majority of the service users were women who conducted small-scale farming on lands of less than one hectare. The field evaluator obtained data on household income, expenses, water practices and crop yields.
Overall, 77% of the farmers found FutureWater beneficial, while 23% had not noticed any benefits from using the service.
Even though the main scope of the innovation was to detect and inform farmers of a specific problem in a specific area of their agricultural land, many farmers were also given advice on farming techniques that could solve these problems. The majority of the farmers perceived this additional service as an important part of the innovation. Farmers explained that only receiving information of an existing problem was of little use when they did not know how to solve it and, as a result, many suggested that drone operators should increase their visits and give more advice on farming techniques.
Overall, 77% of the farmers found FutureWater beneficial,
Moreover, the findings showed that only 17% of the farmers had experienced a change in their water usage due to FutureWater, either directly by changing their irrigation methods as advised by drone operators or indirectly by using the information to confirm the need for land levelling. As for crop yields, there was an overall increase in the provinces, but farmers identified other factors besides the innovation as also having had an impact over production.
Over 50% of the interviewees stated that FutureWater could improve their service by providing the means to solve the problems (mainly pesticides and fertilizers). Many farmers could not benefit from the given information since they could not afford the solution.
Additionally, receiving information of an existing problem proved to be beneficial to farmers with larger farming areas whereas farmers with smaller lands (less than one ha) found it less useful as they could easily spot the problems by themselves when they walked through their lands.
The report thus concludes that, while the innovation had a positive impact on poverty alleviation for farmers with more resources and larger lands, it had little impact on the poverty levels of poorer farmers. Nevertheless, farmers with lower income wanted the service to continue as long as it was offered free of charge. They appreciated any help they could get.
View the full report here.
This report is prepared by an independent researcher. The social enterprise may or may not agree on all or parts of the contents of this report.