County Launches Farm Produce Marketing Mobile App
Farmers in Nakuru can now sell their produce directly to consumers across Africa without involving third parties following the launch of a new app by the County Government to provide market access and information.
The App created by Mkulima Young, a social enterprise, is available on Google Playstore and can be downloaded into smart phones. The App enables farmers to create personal accounts and post their contacts, commodities and their prices.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said most farmers were being exploited by brokers because they were not selling directly to consumers adding that the digital platform had been designed to provide them with better marketing opportunities.
“Most large scale farmers are doing well but small scale ones are struggling. While the big players are operating using data, small holder farmers are operating blindly because they have no access to key information on better markets and prices for their commodities.
By gaining experience in digital marketing, farmers will increase their knowledge of market demands and also improve their understanding of what buyers want as opposed to brokers who are willing to pay for certain farm commodities while exploiting farmers,” said the governor.
The governor stated that the application dubbed ‘Mkulima Young Market Place’ is set to usher in a new revolution that will help increase profitability for small holder farmers, lower prices for consumers, contribute to smart agriculture and motivate farmers to increase their production.
“With the app, farmers will have a wide variety of customers to sell their products to hence spurring competition and enable them produce quality produce. The digital platform is attractive to youthful farmers and provides an opportunity to enhance market accessibility by our farmers.
We have started encouraging small scale farmers in the county to embrace a hybrid marketing mindset in which they use both traditional and virtual platforms to sell,” he said.
Mr Kinyanjui assured thatMkulima Young Market Place will not charge farmers who use the platform to market their produce, hence reducing risks for those using the site to reach a wider market.
“According to data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) the country enjoys over 90 per cent mobile penetration while Smartphone ownership across Kenya has risen to over 60 per cent in just five years. This revolution should have significant impact on farming in Kenya.
Through the digitization of agriculture, farmers will access markets, accurately predict the weather and enjoy superior seed quality” observed the County Boss.
County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture Dr Immaculate Maina noted that a number of studies in Africa had established that farmers provided with online market information services had prices of their produce increase by between 7 and 10 percent.
She said her department was embracing digital technology to open up what she termed as ‘vast untapped potential’ for farmers, investors and entrepreneurs to improve efficiency of food production and consumption in Nakuru.
“Many of our smallholder farmers know relatively little about the worth of their products, yielding more bargaining power to middlemen which render them vulnerable to unfair deals,” said Dr Maina
According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), digitization of Agriculture will help in fighting hunger, reducing poverty, increasing resilience and improving productivity in agriculture.