In offering farmers control over the price of their produce, a Telegram group, FarmerBot, is connecting more than 22,000 agro-producers to direct buyers.
In 2017, Kenyan farmers lost 1.9m tonnes of food as they struggled to find markets according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
FarmerBot came up with the Telegram group to help farmers seamlessly interact with buyers. Onions, tomatoes, capsicums, watermelons, cabbages, chillies are some of the main crops of the farmers in the group.
“There are more than 2,000 buyers in Nairobi, Mombasa and other major towns buying from FarmerBot group members. Apart from linking them to the buyers, the group lets the farmers independently determine the price of their produce,” said Noah Nasiali, FarmerBot group Business Development Director.
The officer said the group members create profiles of their farmers featuring the crops they are having from planting to harvesting.
The managers of the group know which crops will be ready for harvesting at a given time and the expected tonnage.
Hass avocado variety. Courtesy
In addition to hotels and restaurants, supermarkets are the other main buyers of the produce from farmers in the FarmerBot group.
Besides being in control of the price, the farmers enjoy all-year round market for their produce.
“Instead of producing tomatoes from one acre in one season, the farmers are helped to delay the planting using the quarter system. They can grow the first tomatoes on a quarter an acre now and do the same to another quarter after three weeks or a month until the acre is covered. The spread ensures differences in age, which will be replicated at harvesting,” he said.
Instead of having one-bulky produce per season, the farmer transcends the period to reach the market even on shortage times.
With a constant supply, the farmers create good profile for themselves with the marketers. The farmers also earn constant income from the harvest besides wining the confidence of the big buyers like supermarkets.
The Telegram group, which is supported by http://farm.ink/, offers farmers free expert production and buyer information for high yields and definite markets.
Here is the link for joining the group- https://t.me/FarmGroupBot.
Nasiali can be reached on +254722907203 or +254799087084.