Vodafone Group has formed an alliance with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and not-for-profit organization TechnoServe, to use mobile phones to support low-income, smallholder farmers supplying cash crops to Olam International in Tanzania.
The public-private partnership, called the Connected Farmer Alliance (CFA), will benefit around 30,000 of Olam International’s coffee, cotton and cocoa smallholder farmers in Tanzania.
Farmers will be able to get advice via text message; they will be updated about upcoming training sessions and events; they will also get real-time information about changes in market prices.
Additionally Vodafone will offer M-Pesa service to facilitate mobile money transfer from December 2014 onwards.
TechnoServe will also provide training for Olam International staff and farmers.
The service will benefit Olam as it will increase productivity and revenues for smallholding farmers supplying cash crops to Olam.
Vodafone Group Regional CEO, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific Region Serpil Timuray, said these partnerships have a powerful effect in helping rural communities develop new skills and grow revenues.
With the right technology and services, organizations like CFA can put agriculture expertise, accurate data and payments into the hands of smallholder farmers in real time and at considerable scale, no matter how remote.
“This helps to improve yields and farmer livelihoods while our business benefits from smarter operations and lower costs. Ongoing evaluation from the farmers will be fed back in to the program,” said Olam Environmental & Social Manager, South and East Africa Jeremy Dufour.