Potato farmers without Internet-enabled telephone gadgets can now access direct market for their produce after online selling platform, OLX, launched a short message service linkage platform.
Speaking during the launch of the service, Kenya OLX Manager Peter Ndiang’ui said more than 9,000 farmers are set to benefit from high prices of selling their produce directly to consumers like hotels and restaurants.
The direct linkage from the farmer to markets like hotels and other eateries in urban areas will eliminate middlemen, who exploit producers and the consumers in the supply chain.
Farmers are required to dial *887# to alert OLX, which will then connect them to buyers. The dialing will identify the farmer according to their region of origin.
Although the service is currently available to Nakuru and Nyandarua counties-the country’s rich potato baskets-the manager said it will be available in other regions too.
The SMS platform is an alternative to farmers who do not have internet enabled devices to access online OLX Agriculture Category.
Kiambu County Irish potato farmer Patrick Njega said middlemen can by a 110kg sack at Sh1,800 and sell it at between Sh2,500 and Sh3,000, depending on the demand.
Even if the customer is to incur transport costs of Sh300 per sack to reach an urban market, selling the sack at about Sh2,500 leaves a big profit margin.
At the same time, the middlemen use the outlawed 150kg sacks in some areas instead of the 110kgs to extort farmers.
With the direct link, farmers have a say on packaging according to the demand of their clients.