Commerce as a practice has existed for thousands of years, and as societies evolved into more complex establishments, avenues for continued buying and selling became necessary. As the years progressed these instances of commerce would soon grow from simple trade by barter to large markets connected by trade routes and the demand for goods. The many factors that made these marketplaces thrive are still common in today's markets like pricing, supply, demand, and the economics of the area in which the market existed. The major limitation to these physical markets was that you had to be where the market was to experience the opportunities for commerce that it offered fully.
Years rolled over into centuries and we found new ways to work around these limitations. These days, marketplaces have moved from being physical to being online; a change that has given people the opportunity to experience the market from anywhere in the world without leaving the comfort of their homes. As much as this was a breakthrough, it came with its own disadvantages, one of which was the risk of fraud, such as when people try to sell fake products, but more importantly, it led to the creation of digital walls that locked out people who needed products but had little to no access to the internet.
As a company building a future for smallholder farmers in Africa, we have had to deal with this digital wall as we try to build inclusive solutions that help farmers scale for productivity and growth. A way we have done this is by creating the Crop2Cash marketplace where farmers can order agricultural products by simply dialing a USSD code. By way of introduction here are three (3) things farmers can buy in our marketplace:
1) Buy Crop Inputs:
Getting quality crop inputs is a big issue for farmers and the burden of going to marketplaces situated far away from the farm makes the process even harder. Using vetted suppliers and providing on-demand advisory, farmers can now order inputs directly from their phones. From fertilizers to herbicides, all they need to do is just dial *347*46# to get started.
2) Buy Mechanization:
Farming large pieces of land is usually an adventure in resilience and often farmers would opt to maximize their workflow by getting tractors and other heavy machinery. These machines are expensive to purchase and even more costly to maintain. By using our marketplace, farmers can shed off the cost of purchase and maintenance and simply rent tractors and other equipment that make cultivating their land much easier.
3) Buy Insurance:
Accidents happen and we believe our farmers shouldn't have to pay a huge price for them. By using our marketplace, farmers have the opportunity to purchase insurance for fire outbreaks and natural disasters like floods, which help protect their farming businesses from total loss.
The future is inclusive and no one deserves to be left out. In building solutions for the future, we must strive to do the work required to take as many people as we can along the way. By doing this, we multiply the magnitude of our impact and increase the chances of creating something truly life-changing.
If you are interested in learning more about how to use our marketplace, you can get our marketplace guide for free here