OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more (Swahili for I've got crops)

An online marketplace for agriculture in SSA, connecting supply and demand, so food gets to the places it's needed at a fair price.

Photo of Jack Langworthy
6 3

Written by


Imagine you are a rural farmer. You have spent months tending to and harvesting your fields. Miles of tenuous roads separate you from a major city. How do you sell your crops? Traditionally, you talk to the few local middlemen who pass through offering to pay you for your crops. Rejecting an offer is a great risk, because there may not be another middleman and your harvest will rot if not sold promptly. As a farmer you have almost no negotiating power and are dependent upon the middlemen. Now, there's NINAYO. Allowing you to post your harvest online for anyone to see. You can search out market prices nearby, aggregate with your community and arrange for transport, and capture a greater value of the crops you worked so hard on. How NINAYO works is simple. Farmers post the crops they have to sell onto our website, either directly, or through SMS. Our website classifies their crops by location, price, quantity and type in a user friendly directory, much like Ebay or Craigslist. Similarly, buyers can post the prices they are paying for crops on the site's searchable directory. By connecting LIVE buyers and sellers, the business information necessary to prevent wasted food and enable efficient supply chains becomes available.


1. Small holder farmers SHF are the first to benefit because they are empowered with the information they need to conduct better business. I've interviewed dozens of SHF, both using and not using NINAYO, and they all suffer from the same pain point: finding the right buyer for their crops. It's common for neighbors with the exact same product to get significantly different prices. Now, they can efficiently find the right buyer. 2. Buyers: more efficient 3. Business: More reliable


We have launched in Tanzania through a grassroots effort of educating farmer cooperatives throughout the country. We are partnered with Technoserve, the Peace Corps and Tigo, but require greater resources to manage these operations.


  • Yes


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


  • Yes, for more than one year.


I am the CEO of NINAYO. I moved to Tanzania as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2009, where I spent two and a half years living in a hut, teaching O level math and physics and learning about agriculture. I spent years in the sector, have an MBA and a great team, including Mike Jones, former CEO of Myspace

I developed NINAYO after spending years buying and selling crops with NGO's and the Peace Corps in East Africa. It's a tool to solve specific problems I faced connecting small holder farmers to markets.

At it's most basic, NINAYO is a marketplace for African agriculture. We provide free business information to the people who need it most. A business information platform may not sound sexy, but it is critical to an efficient value chain, and our value proposition is already proven by our thousands of users.

We're enabling food supply to reach demand much more efficiently and enabling hard working farmers to capture more of the profit.

Sub Saharan Africa has a $12 billion agriculture sector in which:

- 30% of food rots during post-harvest handling

- Malnutrition is rampant (30%)

- Average income is less than $3 per day

Much of what has driven this inefficiency was the inability of supply and demand to communicate. Rural farmer’s harvests would rot before they could find a decent buyer. However, now that phone and internet penetration is widespread, a new solution is at hand: <>.

We currently have over 6,000 users and just partnered with a major telecom company. We've got a world class team with Mike Jones, CEO of Science-inc (former CEO of Myspace) recently joining the company as an advisor. As well as top notch Tanzanian marketers sharing this product with farmer cooperatives throughout their country.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Chioma Ume

Hi Jack,

I notice you haven't filled in the answers to the new phase questions yet. Friendly reminder to do so before the phase ends next week. Remember that the 'full description' field won't be visible to any of your readers.

Asante! Chioma

View all comments