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Farmer Truckshare

An SMS based system that allows nearby farmers to rent a share of space in a truck to take goods to market

Photo of Katherine Tan
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1.) Farmer Kwame owns one hectare, and plants small volumes of maize, sorghum, and onions. He and his family consume most of their crop, but they have some left over they want to sell to market. 2.) However, Farmer Kwame does not own a truck or tractor, and the market where he can get the best prices is half a day's ride away by burro. Farmer Kwame heard from his village leader of a new service called Farmer Truckshare. 3.) Farmer Kwame is curious, so he sends an SMS to Farmer Truckshare. He receives a message asking him 5 questions- what crop does he want to transport, how much, when, from where, and to what location? If he cannot read, he can also leave a message to a toll free number. 4.) Farmer Truckshare collects similar information from other farmers in Kwame's area, or along the same route that Kwame's produce needs to travel. Within 2 hours, Farmer Truckshare provides Kwame an SMS quote for his load based on the volume, distance, and other factors. 5.) Once there are enough farmers to fill one truck or more, Farmer Kwame is invited to reserve space in the truck. To do so, he must put down a 10% deposit (which he can do through his Mobile Money account). He will get a discount if he is among the first 2 farmers to reserve. The deposit is not returned if he backs out. 6.) On market day, the truck stops by the farmers who have reserved space and can accompany their crops. Kwame only pays for the full amount once he and the crop safely get to market.


Smallholder farmers who live in remote locations, cannot afford access to trucks or transport to market on their own, and do not produce large volumes but still want to sell their crops. Using an SMS system allows them to aggregate their needs and split the cost of trucking with other farmers based on the space they use.


Yes - Tanzania, Zambia, or Uganda


  • I'm not sure


  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year


  • Yes, for more than one year.

Farmers in remote locations face high costs and substantial barriers to get their goods to market. They may not have enough produce to fill an entire truck, so transport may be expensive. Farmer Truckshare uses an SMS platform to allow farmers to rent space in a truck, and aggregate their supply with other neighboring farmers, to split the overall costs of transport. If farmers happen to grow the same crop, they can also use the platform to pool their supply with other farmers, which may allow them to get better prices for higher volume.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Francis Leye

Hi Katherine, "Uber-ing" for local farmers is a great idea and shows potential. With more farmers getting to know about the platform, the pluses are high. Thumbs up!