• Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Phones constitute 83% of marketing information to farmers

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GSM phones now constitute about 83 percent of the agricultural marketing information outlets farmers use in accessing information on sales of farm produce. This is according to a recent study on the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) for accessing information for sales of farm produce.

The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural Science, was carried out last quarter of 2013 by R. A. Oyeyinka and R. O. Bello in Oyo State, Nigeria. This indicates that the usage may even be higher in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub.

On an increasing level, ICT has been giving many Nigerian farmers/agribusiness investors the opportunity to by-pass middlemen and get direct access to inputs and markets domestically and internationally. ICT in marketing of farm produce is particularly very successful with small-scale farmers who relate directly with the customers and are able to supply farm fresh foods directly to meet the specifications of the consumer.

Kola Oyedeji, owner of Satin Farm and Agro-allied Services in Ojo, Lagos, has been able to use ICT to check the instances of glut many livestock farmers experience at certain times of the year. Some months ago, Oyedeji started an online store through his blog and he says demand for his livestock products has doubled and keeps rising.

Prospective customers get to see the adverts of livestock products such as chicken, turkey, and eggs on his blog. He gets the notification of the bookings and also does negotiations through phone calls, SMS, e-mails or chats on the blog with his phone. After an agreement is reached, and the customer credits his business account, he sends one of his staff to make the delivery.

He says: “We do delivery only in Lagos currently, but we shall extend to other states very soon. News of the online store is spreading through referrals from satisfied customers and I expect that as we create more awareness through well-established media organisations, the sales would become massive.”

Another farmer, Abdullahi Abubakar, a smallholder vegetable farmer, negotiates with customers in Europe and South Africa through his mobile phone. With the assistance of the National Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) on production, he is able to export fresh vegetables.

Abubakar says “I have customers in Belgium, South Africa, England, Ireland, Italy, and so on. I sell more than 100 cartons of vegetables weekly. I take them to the airport and hand over to the importer’s agent. I get paid N500 (about $3) per carton, which contains 4kg to 5kg of vegetables.”

ICT is also playing a role in Aiyetoro Market, Epe in Lagos State. Here, farmers, processors and merchants of farm produce are using the internet to market their produce/products.

Market Information Kiosks were provided by the state government with the World Bank assistance in this market and two other markets near farming communities to offer internet services at reduced fees. Farmers and dealers go to the operators and advertise their offer to sell and also offer to buy (inputs).

This is then advertised on a website, with the contact details such as phone numbers, e-mails and physical business location of the advertiser. Through this means, the farmers and dealers get easier access to domestic and international markets.

Nurat Omotayo Atanda, secretary to the Lagos Commercial Agriculture Development Association, says: “This is helping farmers and processors market their produce.

These farmers and dealers now also have access to information and dissemination of information, with their e-mail addresses which can be accessed by their children as many of them are unable to read.

But they also get direct access to offers through their phones. As a result of adverts on the internet on availability of produce, some prospective customers choose to come to the market and make the purchases, therefore reducing wastages to farmers.”

By: OLUYINKA ALAWODE