Online classifieds service OLX, which is majority-owned by Naspers has launched a service to help Kenyan potato farmers without smartphones or internet access to sell their produce via SMS. The platform allows farmers to sell potatoes on OLX by dialling *887# and selecting the region from which their potatoes come from. A notification is then sent to OLX, who in turn will contact and link the farmer to potential buyers. The service currently has over 9,000 farmers signed up in Nyandarua and Nakuru counties and will soon roll-out to other markets.
The service is particularly important to farmers without smartphones as it allows them to get in contact with the market. The launch comes after the new OLX agriculture category that was introduced in March to get rid of middlemen that were exploiting farmers.
Right now, the service is available only in Nyandarua and Nakuru counties but OLX is expanding to other regions soon. Around 9,000 farmers have already signed up to the service. The service will see OLX help farmers deliver potatoes end to end directly from the farm to customers and retailers in markets, restaurants and potato chips companies.
OLX will then in three weeks assist farmers get fertilizers, agrochemicals and seeds delivered to them at a subsidized rate. Potato farming generates KES 25 billion at farm gate prices most of which goes to the middleman
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.