Farmers selling potatoes on OLX using mobile phones without internet connection
Online classifieds company OLX is targeting trade in potatoes, a popular staple food mong urban Kenyans, with its new SMS service. Farmers who do not own smart phones will now be able access the platform by use of code *887# on their phones.
Farmers can sell potatoes on OLX by dialing *887# and selecting region from which their potatoes come from. A notification is then sent to OLX, who in turn contact and link the farmer to potential buyers. Currently, the targeted regions are Nyandarua and Nakuru counties. Over 9,000 potato farmers are already using this service.
OLX country manager Peter Ndiang’ui said that 45% of Kenyans spend their income on food hence their focus on agriculture and potatoes in particular. He said the service will give access to farmers who wish to sell their potatoes on OLX but do not have smart phones.
“Potatoes form the bulk of food consumed in most urban areas,” he said. “Our venture in potato farming is aimed at adding value to farmers by eliminating middle men who have fragmented the supply demand chain. Most of these farmers do not own smart phones. It is for this reason we have introduced the SMS service to target potato farmers who do not own smart phones but want to use our platform. The service is available to farmers in Nyandarua and Nakuru county.”
The long value chain does not give value to potato farmers who have to sell their potatoes mostly through middlemen.
Potato farmers have been constantly exploited by middlemen who dictate prices. By trading on OLX, farmers will have a direct link to their buyers thus increasing their profits.
“Potato farming generates Ksh5 billion at farm gate prices yet farmers profit margins are still negligible. By working directly with OLX, farmers will now increase profits through a shortened value chain. Our aim is to ensure farmers get value for their produce and buyers receive quality straight from the farm through OLX.” Mr Ndiang’ui added.
OLX is helping farmers deliver potatoes directly from the farm to customers and retailers in markets, restaurants and potato chips companies. OLX will assist farmers to get fertilizers, agrochemical and seeds delivered to their doorstep at a subsidized rate.
Recently, OLX launched its agriculture category seeking to eliminate middlemen in the value chain.