A new game designed for members of the Sustainable Trade Platform allows coffee farmers to understand the effects of their decisions on the productivity, quality and sustainability of their crop. The tool “Decidiendo en mi cultivo de café” (Deciding on my coffee crop) was developed to create awareness among coffee farmers of the importance of good agricultural practices and their effects on the quality, sustainability and productivity of the crop.
The game is an interactive, virtual experience in which the facilitators form groups of coffee growers. Every group goes through different spaces, distributed consecutively according to the stages of coffee cultivation. As stated by a digital roulette and depending on what the space indicates, the participants are faced with decisions that correspond to each cultivation stages.
According to Jackeline Londoño, a member of the Solidaridad team that developed the tool, the greatest benefit of the game consist on “drawing the farmers attention to the consequences of the technical decisions of the crop and allowing them to compare results, relating practices that doesn’t seem to have any effects, with variables such as quality and productivity.”
How does the game work?
For example, they may have to decide how to build the sprout whether elevated or at ground level or even define the month in which they should start germinating the seeds for the renewal of the crop. According to the decisions of each group throughout the game, at the end of each step through each stage of coffee cultivation, a new window opens providing feedback on the chosen options, explaining why the decisions made were important and giving recommendations in this regard.
It is highly relevant at the beginning of the activity to define the same characteristics of the farm in terms of size, productivity and price of coffee per arroba, the latter corresponding to the real price of the day of the activity, which produce a projection of the farm’s productivity results, after the application of the different practices that the participants execute throughout the game. In the end, when the teams have reached the goal, a new window shows the results in terms of farm productivity (if production increased or decreased during the year), profits (how much money would the group have earned in one year), sustainability (if the group applied sustainability practices or not) and technical knowledge (how much they knew about technical issues).
To test the activity, a pilot was made in Quinchia, Risaralda with a group of eight farmers. Hector Tapasco, one of the participants commented that in many workshops he had attended, he had been given the information directly, but it was difficult to learn something concrete. “With these games, one gets entertained and learns at the same time. We honestly liked it a lot and we learned lot of things that day”, he said.
Based on the suggestions of the producers who participated in the pilot, final adjustments were made to the game, now available at www.agrolearning.com as part of the tool package offered by this platform to work with producers and their family.
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