OLX Kenya has launched a service to help Kenyan potato farmers without smartphones or internet access sell their produce via SMS. This launch is coming after the new OLX agriculture category that was introduced in March to get rid of middlemen that were exploiting farmers.
With this SMS service, all farmers have to do is dial *887# and select what regions their potatoes are from. After that, OLX gets a notification and they go ahead to connect the farmers with potential buyers. Right now, the service is available only in Nyandarua and Nakuru counties and there are over 9,000 farmers signed up to the service. Although word has it OLX is expanding to other regions soon.
Talking about the launch, OLX Country Manager, Peter Ndiang’ui said, “Potatoes form the bulk of food consumed in most urban areas. Our venture in potato farming is aimed at adding value to farmers by eliminating middle men who have fragmented the supply demand chain. Most of these farmers do not own smart phones. It is for this reason we have introduced the SMS service to target potato farmers who do not own smart phones but want to use our platform.”
He added that, “Potato farming generates KES 25 billion at farm gate prices yet farmers profit margins are still negligible. By working directly with OLX, farmers will now increase profits through a shortened value chain. Our aim is to ensure farmers get value for their produce and buyers receive quality straight from the farm through OLX.”
This is not the first time this year that OLX is launching a service to improve customer experience and expand their reach. Sometime in April in Nigeria, they launched a “Do-it-for-me” service that helps users sell their products and manage their transactions through verified ‘champions’.
With this new focus on agriculture, OLX Kenya is also working on helping farmers purchase fertilizers, agrochemicals and seeds at a subsidized rate.