Olx is probably the most popular ecommerce platform thanks to spirited ad campaigns in Kenya that have propelled it to that position. The company has now announced the launch of a new service that allows potato farmers to sell their produce via SMS. The platform allows farmers to 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.
The service currently has over 9,000 farmers signed up in Nyandarua and Nakuru counties and will soon roll-out to other markets. The service is particularly important to farmers without smartphones as it allows them to get in contact with the market.
The launch of the service follows a recent launch of the service of an agriculture category on the platform which allows them to eliminate middlemen in the value chain. The independent category allows farmers to list livestock and agricultural produce on the platform. Of the new service, Olx Country Director Peter Ndiang’ui says “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 potato prices. “By trading directly on OLX, farmers will have a direct link to their buyers thus increasing their profits”, he added.
The service will see OLX help farmers to deliver potatoes end to end directly from the farm to customers and retailers in markets, restaurants and potato chips companies. Olx will then in three weeks assist farmers get fertilizers, agrochemicals and seeds delivered to them at a subsidized rate. Potato farming generates Kshs. 25 billion at farm gate prices most of which goes to the middleman.