Growing Small Farmers' Businesses Through Access to Market Data

Growing Small Farmers' Businesses Through Access to Market Data

Cuamba, Mecanhela, Mandimba, Metarica, Maua, Nipepe, Marrupa, MozambiqueCuamba, Mozambique
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

ALIMI is a Limited Responsibility Cooperative, based in Cuamba, Niassa, Mozambique, which was established in 2010. It serves membership base is made up of famers from seven districts in southern Niassa province. ALIMI provides members with services for the processing and sale of selected products, access to inputs and some extension advice.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Small famers lack the market data necessary to get fair prices for their crops. Because farmers are geographically spread out and have limited access to technology, it is very difficult to share information about current prices. This also leads to serious difficulties in coordinating shipping. Ultimately, these small farmers are not able to build their business and increase household income without access to real-time communication.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

ALIMI is a farmer-owned cooperative, serving approximately 11,000 small farmers in Mozambique's Niassa province. It is dedicated to serving its farmer members. To overcome the communication challenge, we will implement a data base that includes the latest local and international market prices for specific crops. Farmers will be able to contribute to this data base by texting sales/pricing information from their cell phones. This data will be automatically uploaded to the data base. This data will be at the farmers' finger tips: they will be able to simply send a text message to query the latest local and international market prices. Additionally, this system will allow farmers to log any room that is available for other farmers' goods on rented trucks. Farmers will be able to query the system for this information, saving on transportation costs and increasing profits.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In the past, small farmers in the region would often be forced to blindly accept the price offered by a buyer. They would also make transportation decisions without any knowledge of opportunities to share these expenses with neighboring farmers. With this communication system, a farmer planning to sell corn would send a text message to our database. The data base would respond with the pricing information. The farmer could then negotiate with the buyer as an informed participant in the transaction. The farmer would later supply pricing information to the system. Likewise, they would be able to coordinate transportation by querying the system for information on any trucks that can be shared.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Many other organizations in the region have the same problem. Farmer unions and associations, which serve a very small area, attempt to communicate with their members. However, they have very limited access to data. At least one NGO has introduced a communication system to share market data. However, this system is based on e-mail. Very few if any small farmers have access to e-mail. Many do have access to a cell phone. By focusing on the technolgy available, our system would serve small farmers. There would likely be opportunities in the future to collaborate with NGOs and farmer unions/associations in the expansion of our system.
Team

Founding Story

During meetings, ALIMI's farmer members frequently express frustration over their lack of access to market data. Without this information, they're not able to negotiate fair prices. This idea came about as a way to better serve our members and help them build their business. With the growth of cell phones and the expansion of network coverage in our area, we realized that we had the opportunity to use this technology to serve our members and meet this need.
About You
Organization:
ALIMI Cooperativa, RL
About You
First Name

Joao

Last Name

Chalenga

About Your Organization
Organization Name

ALIMI Cooperativa, RL

Organization Country

, NI, Cuamba

Country where this project is creating social impact

, NI, Cuamba, Mecanhela, Mandimba, Metarica, Maua, Nipepe, Marrupa

Age of Innovator

18-34

Gender of Innovator

Male

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Innovation
How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Social Impact
What solution(s) does your initiative address to help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive in underserved communities? (select all applicable)

Access to technology, Access to economic opportunity.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

It has not yet been implemented.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Following implementation, farmers would be able to negotiate for fair prices.

As they become more comfortable with the system, they would be able to reduce transportation expenses through resource sharing.

Ultimately, they would be able to grow their businesses and increase household income.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

The cell network in the area is not 100% reliable. This means that the farmers would have times when they are not able to access data on their cell phones. To overcome this challenge, we would use the most wide-spread and reliable cell phone network available. Additionally, we would encourage farmers to seek market information with enough lead time to get the information even if there is a temporary network outage.

The cost of sending a text message to get market information could also be a serious obstacle. The farmers we serve are very poor. To overcome this obstacle, we would automatically send information daily to the farmers during key growing/selling periods.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Have fully operational system that is used in one district

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Establish data feed with international market data

Task 2

Establish data base with local market data

Task 3

Have farmers sign up for service at ALIMI's member meetings and local union/association meetings

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Expand the service to all seven districts that ALIMI serves

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Establish system to provide pricing information by district

Task 2

Establish system for coordinating transportation data/availability

Task 3

Have farmers sign up for service at ALIMI's member meetings and local union/association meetings in all seven districts

Sustainability
Tell us about your partnerships

We work closely with farmer unions/associati.ons. We have worked with international NGOs, and we would be able to seek support from these NGOs for this project

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

We would need technology development support.