July 4, 2013

Cassava on eBay? M-Farm SMS helps Kenya's farmers get better prices

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Smallholder farmers stymied by lack of information can see realtime market prices for their produce thanks to M-Farm, and now they want to sell to Tesco, too. The Guardian reports.

M-Farm enables farmers to inquire current market prices of different crops from different regions and/or specific markets, aggregate their needs/orders and connect them with farm input suppliers and enables themfarmers to sell collectively and connect them with a ready market.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Guardian explains that farmers selling snowpeas through M-Farm are now getting 90 Kenyan shillings (about 68p) a kilo, double what they were getting previously. About 5,000 farmers are using M-Farm as a middleman. The advantage for farmers is that they can count on a reliable buyer.

"We are having to turn down farmers who want to join our service because we can't find enough buyers," said Abass. "Spreading ourselves too thinly would be really risky for us."

This is why M-Farm is seeking to forge relationships with UK supermarkets. Supermarkets have a reputation for driving down the prices of their UK suppliers, but Abass says they could help smallholder farmers in Kenya.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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