Safaricom’s enterprise division, Safaricom Business has launched an SME-focused solution called Connected Farmer that aims to improve agricultural activities such as processing businesses in production planning. The solution is based on mobile (app) and a web client and will offer a communication line for farmers.
Connected Farmer will use existing solutions such as MPESA to enable companies and organizations do business with farmers. Such activities will take advantage of the popularity of MPESA to make and receive funds securely.
Apart from making payments, Connected Farmer offers features such as inputting crucial statistics and expected production quantities. By doing so, users will harness planning on pick up as well as work force. Furthermore, Connected Farmer will track sales and aid cash management. If done right, farmers will see substantial reduction in financial input in production.
“Our aim is to digitize the end to end operations of agricultural produce processing firms creating supply chain efficiencies, linking farmers to commercial markets while facilitating productivity improvements,” said Rita Okuthe, Director of Enterprise Business, Safaricom.
Mezzanineware, a mobile-based solution for several businesses that has more than 800 million subscribers in Africa will partner with Safaricom to boost the efficiency of Connected Farmer. Mezzanineware has experience in this area because it has offered comprehensive solutions for agribusinesses with farmers in the continent by partnering with mobile money service providers to bring forth financial service products.
The introduction of Connected Farmer, which took place in Eldoret earlier today was preceded by a pilot program that saw 12 organizations with 80,000 farmers sign up.
“Before we implemented Connected Farmer, our dairy farmers did not have full visibility of the amount of milk sold. Having this recorded improves visibility on the amount of production sold which in turn, helps them manage their cash flows,” said Philip Kibusie, Chairman Sirikiwa Dairies.
The technology will join Safaricom Business’s services that have been launched in the recent past such as Ready Business that incorporates several tech-based solutions for entrepreneurs to tackle enterprise problems, Easy Bundles that offers connectivity solutions for businesses and Fiber for Business.