Afrimash Company Limited, an indigenous agriculture eCommerce platform, has introduced a USSD technology and Agent Network system for farmers to have access to farm inputs.
This, he said, was in a bid to ensure that food production and security.
The company has been described as innovative and the first of its kind in the country by industry watchers and stakeholders. Afrimash is positioned to improve the way farmers are engaged in the rural parts of the country using these two technologies.
Speaking to the media on the importance of the newly introduced USSD technology, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Afrimash Company Limited, Ayoade Oyedotun, said: “in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), we started the Agent Network, which tries to solve the critical problem of getting quality agricultural inputs for farmers.”
According to him, “Afrimash has over 3,000 products on its platform and we are passionate about helping farmers gain easy access to them. What we did was to get agents in every community to serve these farmers and farming clusters, ask them what they need, help them place their orders on our platforms and get them delivered.
“In collaboration with USAID and GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), we started this network in 16 states, Kaduna, Kebbi, Adamawa, Yobe, Gombe, Borno, Benue, Niger, Ebonyi, Delta, Cross River, Oyo, Osun, Lagos, Ogun and Ekiti.”
Ayoade stated that, “across each state, we have a minimum of a hundred agents. When you multiply it by these sixteen states, we have over a thousand six hundred agents across these states. This has positively impacted our finances and revenue.
ed jobs for over 1,600 people and we have also been able to reach more than 123,000 farmers across the nation.
“Though farmers found it hard to trust this method of business transaction due to their familiarity with the traditional method, the company was able to surmount it by engaging reputable and credible people in various communities.”
Also, Programmes manager, Afrimash Company, Collins Okeke, said: “we initially had the challenge of lack of trust. Farmers were used to the ‘cash and carry’ model of transactions, but we are disrupting that and changing the narrative. In surmounting this issue, what gave us an edge was the profile of the agents we worked with. We used reputable individuals in the community as our agents. We also collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture and worked with their Agric Extension officers. Using these methods has worked and has helped us scale.”
The marketing manager at Afrimash, Oreoluwa Familoni added, “our USSD code can be accessed via any network. The USSD option grants access to lots of products in various categories.”