Agri Meets Design: Usage of plant protection treatments

At the invitation of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the STBY team has immersed themselves in the information exchange between the government and the market on plant protection. Over the past few months the experiences of farmers and other stakeholders have been investigated, and suggestions for the improvement of identified bottlenecks were made. The results of this project were presented and discussed during Dutch Design Week (17-26 October 2014).

One of the tangible results is a detailed and visual overview of the activities and experiences of farmers throughout the year in relation to the use of plant protection treatments. This overview shows the complex and dynamic process of keeping up with regulations, deciding which treatments to use, and sharing the documentation on this usage with both professional stakeholders and the wider society. A PDF of this visual overview can be downloaded below (embedded texts are in Dutch). For the four main bottlenecks identified, suggestions in the form of What If… scenarios were added. These scenarios are visualised in four animated videos, and can also be downloaded below (voice overs are in Dutch).


This visual is a 2 meter long, cartoon-style narrative about the way farmers deal with plant protection throughout the year. Download the visual overview here to enlarge it on your screen for a more detailed view. Below you can watch the 4 video animations with the What If… scenarios.

Watch the film on ‘Regulations are complex and dynamic’

Watch the film on ‘Plant protection  requires precision’

Watch the film on ‘Check ups are invisible’

Watch the film on ‘All vegetables are equal?’


Further background on this project:

All partners in the chain can benefit from further digitisation of information exchange on plant protection treatments. Farmers receive their advice on relevant treatments faster, because their advisors have more instant access to current information. They can process these advices more easily into their business, and inform their customers, certification bodies and the government more efficiently. Consultants of farmers can also process the information faster and at lower cost. Distributors can more accurately plan their inventories with readily accessible, current information. And finally, regulators can optimise their process of monitoring with a stronger focus the most on risky situations ,while reducing the number of inspections on the premises by means of digital administrative control.

The main sources of information on regulations around plant protection are the databases of the NVWA (Dutch Food and Goods Authority) and the Ctgb (Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides). NVWA and Ctgb are currently working on a coordinated renewal of their databases. The aim is to create a new platform that enables them to respond quickly and flexibly to new IT challenges.

Customer Journey of farmers with wider societal context

In consultation with Ctgb, NVWA and other stakeholders, STBY has focused their investigations on better understanding and improving the ‘customer journey’ from the perspective of the main user of plant protection treatments: the farmer. Exploring and embracing the experiences of farmers is crucial for the current redesign of customisable digital services. The customer journey clearly represents what farmers need and expect, what steps they go through, and what motivates their behaviour. The scope of the Customer Journey is an overview of the main activities and decision points for farmers over the period of one year – from planning their crops to growing them, and finally harvesting and delivering.

In addition to investigating the information exchange between farmers and government, the customer journey also looks into the availability of information on the application of plant protection treatments with the wider society. The perspectives and the needs of distributors, shops, and consumers is also incorporated in the customer journey and the What If.. scenarios that give suggestions for future improvements.

Open innovation

The goal and chosen method for the development of improved information exchange around the usage of plant protection treatments should ultimately provide an open and interactive platform, founded on a firm commitment of the key parties in the chain. The application of service design principles, and the focus on the perspective of the key stakeholders (farmers, advisors and traders) is key in this process. STBY has contributed to this by framing the IT development process to the context of both the wider societal perspective and the specific needs and expectations of farmers.

Agri meets Design

Agri meets Design is a programme that provides a platform for farmers, designers and policy makers to meet and collaborate in innovative ways. Initiated in 2013 and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, ZLTO and Province of North Brabant, the programme includes ongoing activities and annual presentations during Dutch Design Week.

During the course of the last year, farmers, entrepreneurs and designers worked on several social challenges in agriculture and horticulture. The process and results of these discovery projects were presented in the ’Future Farm’ at Ketelhuisplein in Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week (17-26 October). The project by STBY on plant protection treatments culminated in an expert meeting with representatives of a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the results of the project and talk about how the What If… scenarios could potentially be realised. You can read more about Agri meets Design is working on the Farm of Tomorrow.


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