Bester Farmers

From fields to futures: Great UX makes a great difference for Bester’s farmers



Bester Farmers
Agriculture & Conservation


Mobile app development, UX design, Concept design, UX Research
Being part of something that positively impacts the farming community is always great. We collaborated with Octoco, Voyanti, and Bex Group (the holding company for Bester Feed and Grain) to create a mobile app that will make a positive difference in the lives of South African grain farmers. This app is designed to provide an easy and convenient way for farmers to access trading and contract information in one place.

The Situation

Farmers face many challenges in their profession – one of them being price risk (i.e. managing the prices of their produce). It’s especially true for individual grain farmers who don’t have the same protection available to them as big-scale farmers. This is where Bester Feed and Grain (a part of BexGroup Holding Company) steps in. They help individual farmers manage price risk by sourcing their grain and handling the trading for them. They also offer a range of marketing tools to manage price risk effectively.

As part of this service, Bester Feed and Grain used to send a daily market report to farmers in a PDF format. However, they realised that they could provide more value to their customers by incorporating this report with market indices and weather information into a mobile app. This culminated in the Bester App, an excellent tool that provides farmers with all the information they need in one place, making it easier for them to manage their business.

The Objectives

As a company, Bester Feed and Grain aims to support its personal customer service delivery with a one-stop-shop agricultural commodities trading information app.

Polymorph was brought onto the team to assist with UX research and UX design for the Bester App, which included:
hosting an initial kick-off workshop with all stakeholders involved
conducting in-depth user research and usability testing with the farmers
compiling a shorter concept design
delivering a prototype

The Challenges

The biggest challenge for Bester’s farmers centers around timely access to market information. Bester’s specialist traders compile a very informative marketing report that is emailed to farmers first thing in the morning. However, due to accessibility challenges, not all farmers are consuming this time-sensitive content.

Moreover, varying levels of technological literacy played a role, from farmers relying heavily on Agritech to less tech-savvy farmers.

The Solution

Working with the Bester traders and grain producers revealed the following insights:

  • The most commonly identified need and value-add in an app for farmers is accurate, on-demand information.

  • Communicating via WhatsApp has been a game changer for both farmers and traders and should remain the main form of communication between them.

  • The app needs to be simple and follow accessibility best practices as much as possible.

  • Most farmers engage with the market report before 9am. Information about international agricultural developments takes priority before the rest of the report is consumed.

The Results

The app’s first release targeted the winter grain clients and gave them access to:

  • Daily market reports written by specialist traders.

  • Currencies, exchange rates, live SAFEX prices, and various agricultural commodities’ historical prices.

  • Weather forecasts with the option to select a specific location.

  • Specific contract information, such as deliveries, statements, and invoices, and the ability to download invoices and statements directly to their mobile phone.

  • A field agent via WhatsApp with only a single tap in the app.

The app can work with the systems already in place at the depots where farmers deliver their grain. It can also connect with the back-end system that tracks how much grain a farmer has committed to deliver.

Going Forward

Completing this project showed that positive outcomes are possible when teams from different entities and disciplines combine their efforts. Since its launch, the app’s UX Design has been handed over to Inkblot in collaboration with Octoco.


“Speaking to the farmers while doing user testing truly highlighted how challenging things like government regulations and changing weather conditions can be for grain farmers - as these are aspects they have no control over. This project was inspiring, knowing we were working on something that will make a difference in their lives.”
Madi Duvenhage
Head of User Experience, Polymorph

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