Smallholder Farmer Market Options: Part 2

When smallholder farmers are deciding where to sell their crop, one piece of information is crucial: crop price.

Without knowing how much they’ll receive for their crops, our Partners are unable to make informed decisions. They can’t take calculated risks without knowing the market prices for green peppers.

P_pepper sorting_2011   P_korogwe market crops_2015

This is where the 2Seeds Masoko Project comes in. Based in the city of Dar es Salaam, the Masoko Project is centered around the Kariakoo Market, the largest wholesale market in Tanzania. One of the project’s principle areas of focus is improving access to crop price information for smallholder farmers throughout Tanzania.

2Seeds has established a deep and committed partnership with the Kariakoo Market Corporation (KMC), which manages the market’s commercial operations. Since the Masoko Project launched in 2011, the KMC statisticians have collected crop price data daily. This accurate and consistent data collection is unprecedented in Tanzanian markets.

P_monique henry price basement_2014

KMC Statistician, Henry Emmanuel, works with former 2Seeds Project Coordinator, Monique Galvâo, to collect crop prices.

Nonetheless, the mere existence of the price data didn’t enable farmers to access it. In 2013, 2Seeds held a competition for various Tanzanian-based tech companies to create an app to facilitate collection of the price data. Habari Mazao’s app was chosen and the Tanzanian tech startup later created a website to host the data. Now, daily price information for 33 crops can be accessed online!

Recently, 2Seeds forged another invaluable partnership with Vodacom, one of the major cellular network providers in Tanzania. Vodacom disseminates the Kariakoo crop price information through Kilimo Klub, an SMS-based service oriented to smallholder farmers. For rural farmers, this means they can register themselves with the system and get periodic updates with their selected crop’s current market price. This way, they have more information to make an informed decision about where to sell their produce, as well as increased negotiation power.

P_masoko texting pic_2014

In addition to sharing crop prices, Kilimo Klub may eventually enable mobile commerce of agricultural products. We look forward to tracking how implementation of this technology revolutionizes smallholder farmer market access and decision-making processes!


Smallholder Farmer Market Options: Part 1

Imagine you are a smallholder farmer living in a rural Tanzanian village. It takes you 2 hours by bus on dirt roads to reach Korogwe, a town of roughly 45,000 people. If you want to go to Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania with the wealthiest consumers, you must first travel to Korogwe, then take a bus for another five hours to the city.

Now imagine you’re traveling to sell your green pepper and cucumber crop and have four large, heavy sacks with you.

P_JambiaGreenPepper_2015   P_sacks of matango_2015

How do you decide where to sell your crops? Do you sell them locally at your weekly village market, where prices are low? Do you pay the transport costs to send them to Korogwe? How do you know if the price is high enough in Dar es Salaam to cover the transport costs?

This is a decision our Partners have to make on a weekly basis.

2Seeds is creating opportunities to help our Partners make informed and profitable decisions. Stay tuned to learn about how our SMS-based price dissemination platform is part of that solution!

Photos courtesy of Whitney Flatt and Abby Love.