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by Felix Omondi Improving Market Knowledge in Senegal Agriculture Industry

Senegal has more than 50 million people whose main source of income is based on agriculture directly or indirectly. Initially farmers were faced with the problem of lack of in depth market knowledge and thus hindering their growth. On the other hand, agro-businesses relying on the farmers’ produce as raw materials for their industries also lack sufficient knowledge about the agricultural market as well. In business information is a leverage power, DEMO Africa back in 2012 acted as a launch pad for a startup that would bring a platform for Senegalese farmers and agro-business get full information about all that’s happening in the Senegalese agricultural industry. Improving Market Knowledge in The Senegalese Agricultural IndustryThis startup debuted at DEMO Africa 2012 event in Nairobi, Kenya. The startup called Mlouma, is a website and a mobile platform which gives farmers and agribusiness industries the ideal platform to get reliable and timely agricultural information that would go a long way in helping them make their best decisions in terms of sales and purchase of agricultural products.

Essentially the website acts as a critical link of relevant, precise, reliable, true and timely information between the farmers and the agro-food industries. Through this website, farmers and agro-businesses are able to get real-time commodity prices, various available products and their locations. Thus farmers can get information: to whom to supply to, what is the best price, and in what region, while the agro-business industries know the market price of the raw materials they need, who are supplying them and in what region. This essentially removes market ignorance to both parties, thus improve business activities. Improving Market Knowledge in The Senegalese Agricultural Industry

In business or rather agri-business in this case, ignorance can cost you a lot of money. In the case of the farmers:

  • You could be producing more products yet you end up having no sufficient buyers. Then your products would go bad.
  • You are forced to sell them off at a throw away price since you were not aware of the best prices available in the market.
  • Forced to store your produce hence incur additional costs such as warehousing, storage, and treating the produce against attacks from pests among other things.

On the side of agro-businesses, lack of proper market knowledge could lead to:

  • Buying your raw materials at very expensive prices since you don’t know the best deals available in the market.
  • Your production could be stalled due to poor or inconsistent supplies.
  • Going for supplies which are substandard since you are not aware of the best producers in the market among other things.

zAs we can see has brought all these relevant information both crucial to the suppliers (farmers) and the buyers (agro-businesses). Mlouma is the brain-child of Aboubacar Sidy Sonko (pictured left), who was innovative enough to get his startup idea nominated for the 2012 DEMO Africa top 40 most innovative startups in Africa. The Demo Africa event catapulted his idea to great height of success, all the more reasons this year’s innovative startups should apply for the 2014’s DEMO Africa Event scheduled to be held in September, 22-26 in Lagos, Nigeria. For more information about this event click here.

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