Over the past year, 60 Decibels’ qualified researchers have spoken to more than 600 Sistema.bio users in Kenya, India and Mexico to understand their adoption and satisfaction levels, how they are using the biodigesters and how much impact they have had on their farms and lives. The 60 Decibels team created comprehensive reports with key findings from each country, which have provided valuable insights to better understand our customers. Now we want to share some of those findings with you:
- A large portion of our customers live in poverty
Sistema.bio works with smallholder farmers, most of whom live in rural areas in Kenya, India and Mexico. A quarter of interviewed users in Kenya and 80% of users in Mexico live in poverty (with less than $3.20 & $5.50 USD per person per day respectively), and almost half of users in India live solely on an agriculture-related income. In Kenya, the 60 Decibels team found that users who live under $3.20 USD/day are more likely to report that the amount spent on energy supplies slightly decreased (44%), compared to those above the poverty line. This shows that Sistema.bio has a proportionally higher impact on poor households’ economy.
- For many farmers, Sistema.bio is a gateway to sustainable farming
At Sistema.bio, we pride ourselves not only on the quality of our technology but on the innovative solution we are offering to smallholder farmers. While biogas has been around for over a century, we know from experience that most biogas plants tend to be either non-functioning or short-lasting, which may be one of the reasons for its low popularity. As for our clients, over 90% of our users in Mexico and Kenya had never had access to biogas before Sistema.bio. In India, a country with a relatively long history with biogas, only 19% of our users had had prior access to a similar service. All of these results speak highly of our ability to connect and work with underserved communities. Moreover, when asked if they thought they could easily find a good alternative to Sistema.bio, 97% percent of Indian and 75% of Mexican users said “no,” which proves that Sistema.bio is providing a product and service that is scarce in the areas we serve.
- Sistema.bio digesters are a tool for autonomy & resilience
From the moment we installed our first Sistema.bio digester, we knew we had with us a product that could change the lives of millions of people. We were very glad to hear that 83% of our Indian, 90% of our Kenyan and 86% of our Mexican users said their quality of life has either slightly or very much improved thanks to Sistema.bio. The main reasons attributed to this are (i) decreased spending and dependence on fuel, charcoal and firewood; (ii) improved indoor air quality and (iii) a decrease in borrowing needs, all of which speak highly of the role Sistema.bio digesters play on our clients’ health, autonomy and resilience. In fact, in Mexico, 10% of our farmers faced difficulties putting food on the table in the last year, 40% of which reported a positive increase in their families’ ability to eat because of Sistema.bio. 74% of our Mexican users also claimed their stress levels have decreased because of Sistema.bio’s support in meeting their families’ needs.
- Biodigesters can also boost farm productivity
For the past few years, our R&D teams have carried out extensive research on the benefits of biofertilizer, the incredibly valuable by-product of our biodigesters. To said research, we can now add that 68% Indian, 59% Kenyan and 78% Mexican farmers have seen an increase in their farm’s total production, resulting as well in an increase in their earnings due to the volume of produce sold. In India, 36% noticed improved crop quality and 34% noticed improved soil quality.
- Our users are happy and satisfied with Sistema.bio
A key part of Sistema.bio’s value proposition is the service, financing and training we offer to our customers —in the end, they are the center of everything we do. Every day, our expert team of technicians work tirelessly to make sure that not only all biodigesters are installed correctly, but that all end-users are trained and independent in operating and maintaining their biodigesters. On this note, we now know that 81% of Indian users feed the biodigester daily and with the recommended amount. In this sense, the 60 Decibels team found that farmers that add the recommended amount on a daily basis are significantly more likely to report using biogas for more than 75% of their cooking. On the other hand, 85% of our Mexican users feel the price offered by Sistema.bio is fair, and 95% of them agree that the engagement with Sistema.bio has been fully transparent. In terms of customer satisfaction and loyalty, more than half of our customers in all three countries are “promoters” of our technology, meaning they actively recommend us to friends, family and neighbors. Lastly, and happily, 93% of our Mexican customers said they would work with Sistema.bio for many years to come.
The results of 60 Decibels’ reports are a source of great pride for all of us at Sistema.bio. We are nevertheless aware that there is much yet to be done: there are always more families to reach, more farmers to train and more lives to change. As we continue to grow, we will use everything we have learned to improve our processes and find the best ways to join forces with farmers for a better, more sustainable world.