Viamo and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center’s (CIMMYT) winning entry in CGIAR Big Data in Agriculture Inspire Challenge (2017) was to create a mobile market platform in Nepal to address gaps in the country’s value chain.
Nepal’s agriculture value chain is disaggregated and informal, impeding the flow of information and resources to and from smallholder farmers. A lack of access to services – such as farm labor and transportation – and markets prevents farmers from translating improved yields to improved livelihoods. Viamo partnered with CIMMYT to address the gaps in the value chain.
In the first three-month phase of the pilot, the mobile service named Link It was built and launched in Surkhet, Nepal. Horticulture farmers and buyers registered to the service by calling a toll-free number and answering a series of voice-based profile questions. The listeners identified: buyer or seller; amount of produce; price; location; and if transportation was available.
In the first phase, more than 800 people accessed the Service, and 28 buyers and 63 farmers completed the registration questions, leading to 72 matches.
For the second phase of the pilot, Link It was adapted on to the Viamo Platform in Nepal to test the marketplace at scale. More than 4,395 users registered (3,088 farmers and 1,307 buyers) and a total of 8,232 matches were made.
Key outcomes from this second phase show the large potential for mobile market linkage services in countries like Nepal. A survey of a sample of registered Link It users found that:
54% of farmers that called a buyer were able to make a sale
50% of those transactions resulted in a higher profit for the farmer
Buyers also found the service useful, with 76% reporting higher profits from using it.
”We can directly talk with the sellers and come to a certain rate, and then easily contact them when needed. [We can] let them know beforehand what produce we need and in what quantity.
Male BuyerProvince No. 3
Link It registers around 1,500 farmers and 500 buyers per month. Given the high demand for the Service, Viamo hopes to build AI to automate the matches to keep up with the demand and make more tailored, smarter matches for greater impact.
By putting Link It on our Viamo Platform Service in Nepal, more than 6 million farmers can now access this information for free and on-demand. This service not only provides short-term solutions to farmers wanting to sell their produce, but also provides them with the initial connection needed to build long-lasting and sustainable relationships with different buyers, ensuring their continued financial stability.