The solution addresses three main challenges that face African rural agriculture namely:
CHALLENGE 1: HOW MIGHT WE BUILD A “FARMER LOYALTY PROGRAM"?
One of the solutions to the challenges in Africa’s agriculture sector is aggregation, bulking, processing and commercialization. There are already some agri-businesses that bring together farmers, provide them with improved seeds and farm extension services to improve their productivity and thereafter buy the farmers’ produce thereby creating a market.
However, the agri-business becomes comfortable to invest in the smallholder farmers, if there is certainty that the farmers will indeed sell the product back to the agribusiness. Indeed some of the farmers even after receiving extension services from the agri-business end up selling their produce to other buyers. Consequently, the agribusiness ends up reducing their investment in the smallholder farmers, kicking off a vicious cycle of low investment-low productivity-low income. Our model is essentially intended to address the problem of loyalty of the farmers to the agri-business. Our innovation seeks to build a “Loyalty program for farmers” by ensuring that the farmers served by an agri-business (off-taker) remain loyal by developing tailor-made benefits that make sense to the farmers – addressing their needs, ensuring that the off-taker creates value for the farmers that builds this affinity, and other partners along the value chain can bring value to the loyalty program and enhance community progress.
CHALLENGE 2: HOW MIGHT WE IMPROVE THE MANAGEMENT OF AGRICULTURE VALUE CHAINS?
Managing large agriculture value chains with various actors can be challenging. The current manual systems of managing the flow of information and funds, monitoring and tracing resources are not only inefficient but also prone to a lot of errors and manipulations. Through this innovation, we are building a “Value chain management solution” using the case study of the Coffee value chain. We are using digital to help in improving the following value chain processes and activities;
Low productivity among smallholder farmers is majorly caused by poor farming practices due to lack of knowledge (no extension services) and lack of modern farming tools (mechanization or other tools).
Access to these services and tools is both an issue of availability and efficient allocation. Most smallholder farmers cannot afford to acquire some of the modern tools of production. It is also not economical for them to fully own the tools since they have small farms. For extension services, it becomes expensive for a smallholder farmer to pay for a full day of an extension worker when actually they only need 2 hours of extension services at most. However, because there is no pooling and aggregation of the needs in a given area, each farmer has to pay a full day equivalent of services. Through this innovation, we’ll build a digital solution that can allow farmers to access, order for and share farm extension workers, tools and equipment, allow equipment owners and commercial service providers to offer their equipment and services, allow farmers to hire and pay for equipment and agricultural services, guarantee payments until the service is provided, allow the verification of users and service providers, provide a feedback service for both farmers and service providers to allow for the development of a trusted online community, and allow for matching search requests with actual services available.
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