In Nepal, the 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 (farm labor, transportation, etc.) and markets prevents farmers from translating improved yields to improved livelihoods. To address the gaps in the value chain, Viamo partnered with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) for the 2017 CGIAR Big Data in Agriculture Inspire Challenge. Viamo and CIMMYT’s winning proposal was to create a mobile market platform.
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 our 3-2-1 Service in Nepal to test the marketplace at scale. Since its launch in July, 4,395 users have registered (3,088 farmers and 1,307 buyers) and a total of 8,232 matches have been 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:
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 Buyer, Province No.3
Currently, 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 3-2-1 Service in Nepal, over 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.
Get in touch with us to learn more about how Viamo can help your organization create sustainable market linkages for farmers via mobile.