Two thirds of Africans depend on agriculture for their livelihood, but many farmers live far from markets and they lack the resources or transport to access these markets -- farmers and buyers are disconnected. Middlemen have filled this gap, often creating inefficiencies and barriers for producers and buyers, forcing farmers to take whatever price they are offered given the limited options.
At TruTrade, an African-based social enterprise, we believe that the missing key to unlocking the full potential of the African agricultural system is connectivity, using the internet to fairly and effectively connect smallholder farmers to the buyers that make up the formal agricultural market. The raw potential already exists to do this via the internet. We just need to develop the vehicle to make the connection.
As such, we have created an innovative mobile platform to increase smallholder farmer incomes through integrating them into sustainable markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. We call it weSource, and in 2018 we used it to connect 2,400 rural farming households who typically have no more than five hectares of land to 20 agribusiness and wholesalers across Uganda and Kenya.
Our team of on-the-ground field agents uses the weSource platform to link a buyer and the type and amount of a certain crop that they need to an array of smallholder farmers that combine their produce to meet the demand. Beyond providing the logistics to link farmers to buyers, TruTrade's weSource provides immediate mobile-internet-based payment to farmers upon delivery of their crop, ensures produce meets buyer specifications and provides the buyers with the ability to trace the source of the crops they are purchasing. This provides a reliable route to market using the internet as the vehicle instead of a passing truck, which has enabled farmers and buyers to build confidence in the market, gaining the ability to plan ahead and invest in improved production and more robust trades.
In short, TruTrade’s weSource unlocks the potential of African farming families and local agri-businesses through vastly improved access to and use of a digital sourcing and trading solution.