The spread of mobile technology has granted developing nations access to the digital revolution. This is called digital inclusion. From the digital revolution, we have experienced one of the most innovative new business models, networking. Companies like Facebook and Instagram are involved in social networking. Uber and Lyft specialize in transportation networking. Go-puff, Grubhub, and Door Dash all focus on food delivery networking.
What makes these business models unique to networking is that their products are simply information. Food, cars and people’s personal information, provided by the users themselves, is the secret. Networking companies need only to provide intuitive transfer of this information over the internet.
New companies across Africa are taking advantage of the networking business model. With increased digital inclusion for African farmers, there are new ways for transactions to be streamlined.
The mechanization of agriculture is an important innovation to spread into developing countries. Unfortunately, many farmers in these countries cannot afford to outright buy a tractor and maintain it. Hello Tractor! creates a network between tractor dealers, contractors and farmers that makes mechanization a reliable and affordable investment for all.
Based in Nigeria, Hello Tractor! targets the 36 percent of the Nigerian population that is employed in agriculture. The physical product of Hello Tractor! is a device that attaches to tractors and monitors them, sending GPS and maintenance data to the Hello Tractor! software.
Farmers use the software by downloading a mobile application, to book the dates in which they need tractors. Once contractors send out their tractors, they can use the app to see if the tractors are being used properly. Tractor dealers also have access to the information so that they may perform maintenance when required.
John Deere supplied 10,000 tractors to Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture in 2018 and they are all managed by the Hello Tractor! systems. Ultimately, digital inclusion for African farmers can build trust between stakeholders.
Selling produce is a more arduous task than many may think. As the market expands, this risky and tedious process only puts more pressure on farmers. Digital inclusion for African farmers can settle this issue.
Between the farmer and the consumer, there exists a distributor. However, unlike how we think of big business deals in America, these distributors can not put down payments on produce. They must take weeks to sell the products to consumers and bring back the returns to the farmers after.
A solution to this problem is in high demand as 70 percent of workers in Kenya are employed in agriculture.
Agri-wallet fits nicely into a niche area between the Kenyan farmers and the market distributers. When farmers sell to their distributors, Agri-wallet pays up-front into the farmers’ banking app. Now, farmers can restock during this intermittent period of sales.
Convenient transactions and loans such as these would not be possible without the growing interconnectivity of mobile technology spreading into Africa.
Now, 4,000 farmers in Africa are benefitting from the services of Agri-wallet.
According to the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, 3 quarters of Kenyan farmers have planted fake seeds at least once. Farmer’s Pride is a Kenyan company that will provide infrastructure and safe avenues for e-commerce among farmers and distributors.
A primary focus of Farmer’s Pride is “putting the area on the map” so that village-level farmers are more attached to society as a whole. Extra care for farmers, from digital access to insurance to local access to veterinary care for livestock, is what makes Farmer’s Pride such a promising franchise.
10,000 farmers have been connected through Farmer’s Pride, making an extra $2m income through their intervention.
These secure smartphone apps are promoting e-commerce, intelligent planning and proper resource management. When African farmers are given the opportunity to be included in the digital world, the entrepreneurial and economic prosperity we have enjoyed in America will become open to them.
– Nicholas Pihralla