Agri-tech platform opens global marketplace to African farmers
Selina Wamucii, a Kenyan agri-tech platform that helps global businesses to buy and import agricultural produce from Africa, has opened up to organised farmer groups and cooperatives to enable them export directly to markets worldwide.
Until now, farmers have had to sell their produce to Selina Wamucii which would then go on to sell to others.
The platform is encouraging African farmers to move away from the conventional way of selling their produce through third parties - including importing agents, distributors, wholesalers and retailers that buy raw and processed produce from export companies and other intermediaries - who would then sell on to markets.
The new model wants farmers to retain the ownership of the produce and control the entire export process from harvesting to supplying local, intra-African or global markets using the platform’s Artificial Intelligence, data, and algorithms to streamline supply chains across the continent.
Farmers are now required to be registered as organised groups with a clear leadership structure to join in forming this valuable link to markets around the world.
Also, all buying and selling will happen on the platform, directly between buyers and the farmers based on a seamless connection to global markets regardless of geographical limitations, size of farm, facilities or resources.
Commenting on the mobile-driven B2B sourcing platform for fresh produce from smallholder farmers, Samuel Karogo, Head of Farmers Program, Selina Wamucii said: “That means obviously foregoing a huge share of their earnings to the intermediary while losing control on the transaction. Now, they can do it by themselves, no need to sell it to third parties. Any producer, group, society or cooperative can list their produce and sell directly on the platform as opposed to selling to, for example, an exporter who would then go on to sell to the export markets.”
Selina Wamucii’s expansion drive to simplify sourcing, payments and logistics based on trust for buyers and producers as the first truly Pan-African platform for food and agricultural produce are fraught with particular challenges.
They include cultural and infrastructural problems and varying cross-border tariff and non-tariff trade barriers across different African countries.
With 52% of all purchase enquiries on the platform originating from African countries presently, Karogo is hopeful that the challenges will be surmounted once trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) commences on July 1, 2020.
AfCFTA’s main aim is to foster trade within Africa and to improve the continent’s standing in the global market.
It could benefit Selina Wamucii’s marketplace in its pursuit to connect producers (80% of whom it says are family farmers) to global and regional market opportunities.