Like most other African countries, agriculture is one of the major contributors to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This sector is being driven by smallholder farmers which, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), accounted for 88 percent of Nigerian farmers.
Beyond being smallholder farmers, these farmers also live in rural areas. Interestingly, Internet startups have been able to reach these farmers irrespective of their location, providing capital as well as ensuring that they get buyers for their farm produce.
And one of the companies that have been working with these farmers is Tingo International Holding Inc., with its Nwassa platform, a platform dedicated to African farmers.
Through the Nwassa platform, Tingo International Holding Inc. has sold over 9 million Tingo branded mobile devices to Nigerian farmers with payment spread over 36 months in order to reduce the financial strain on them.
“With the devices, we (Nwassa) provide up-to-date information to the farmers in real-time,” Dozy Mmobuosi, group chief executive, Tingo International Holdings Inc., stated.
Nwassa is providing the farmers with weather forecasts as well as prices of farm input and produce. The farmers also get access to extension service providers.
Farmers on the Nwassa platform have been able to record lower post-harvest losses. This, according to Mmobuosi, is attributed to access to timely extension services and off-takers for the farm produce.
“Nwassa is the ultimate answer for farmers all over the world, as every farmer’s need in every location can be addressed without undue challenges,” Mmobuosi said.
Judging by the activities of Nwassa over the years, Mmobuosi believes that Nwassa has the potential to become a one-stop-shop for African agribusiness.
Mmobuosi affirms that the end goal for the platform is to improve the livelihood of African smallholder and rural farmers, starting with Nigeria.
One of the roles that Nwassa has been playing include bridging the gap between farmers and off-takers in a bid to ensure that the farmers focus more on their farming activities.
Through its in-house payment channel, Tingo Pay, Tingo International is also bringing the rural farmers into the formal financial system.
Nwassa is also providing cheap credit access to people within and outside its platform through its microloan scheme which is also serving as a channel to bring more people into the financial fold.
Having worked with rural farmers as well as other players in the agricultural value chain over the years, Mmobuosi declares that the strength of the Nwassa platform is in working with these farmers.
With Nwassa, Tingo International Holdings Inc. is empowering every player in the agricultural value chain, using simple technology to enable easy access to the market and information.
“The goal is to bring every player in the agricultural ecosystem under the same umbrella towards building an African that feeds itself and the rest of the world,” Mmobuosi said.
Mmobuosi affirmed that the platform would continue to work with more African farmers and players in the agricultural value chain in order to improve their livelihood.
SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY