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Replicating and improving the impact of Esoko in Mexico

Sending accurate and actionable information to small scale farmers through their mobile phones (SMS & Call Center)

Photo of Nicolas Demeilliers
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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

Esoko MX’s mission is to transform agricultural value chains in Mexico through powerful ICT to improve farmers’ quality of life. Esoko is a media and contact center for the agriculture sector, which connects farmers with all the key players in the agriculture value chain. Farmers have access to useful and actionable market information and knowledge allowing them to improve their productivity, obtain optimal sale prices, increase their incomes and ultimately escape poverty. Esoko Mexico is scaling the impact of Esoko Africa to Mexico. As a media, we need to adapt the content we provide to farmers to the Mexican context. As such it is crucial to send them information that is really useful for them: tips and recommendations to improve their productivity, direct connection with buyers to bypass intermediaries, access to up to date market price and weather information. Currently, we work with SMS as in Mexico most farmers have a basic phone but do not have a smartphone and access to internet either, making it irrelevant the use of apps. We also want to set up a call center so that farmers can ask questions directly to a trained agronomist. However we need to build a system to make sure that the helpline advisor understand precisely the context of the farmer's question to give him the best advice. So in summary, we have to build a "content generation system" for agri tips and market information that will be 100% useful to farmers by disseminating by SMS and call center.

WHO BENEFITS?

The beneficiaries are the over 3 million small scale farmers and their families in Mexico who live with less than 1,000 USD per year. They need a better access to markets to get better prices, improve the quality and volume of their crops by using new technology and new ways of farming and access to quality weather information to make the most of the agri tips.

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

Mexico as a start. Latin America once we are well established in Mexico

ARE YOU IMPLEMENTING IN AN ELIGIBLE COUNTRY?

  • No, I plan to implement it somewhere else

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

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

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU!

José Amaya and Nicolas Demeilliers have been replicating Esoko in Mexico since September 2015. They are now helping 5,000 farmers by sending them information with the help of local NGOs. They both have experience in the agriculture and social entrepreneurship sectors.

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Spam
Photo of William Lanier
Team

Hello Nicolas,
How will Esoko increase grower incomes and ultimately help them escape poverty when the platform is not conscious of for example aflatoxin levels or other grading for quality grains?
Some PHL is of wet, fruits and vegetables and meat (densely nutritious) and some is dry, high calorie grains. When properly dried and stored, high calorie grain feeds most of the human labor and animal power needed to grow, harvest and process densely nutritious food. Merely increasing production lacks meaning because inputs like “sms based information, micro-finance, etc” are wasted when improper drying and storage allows rats, birds, insects and fungi (aflatoxin) cause “significant loss postharvest” (Lipinsky, 2013).
Simply what is the net benefit of increased nutrition if it requires eating aflatoxin?
Would it be an improvement on the Esoko Africa platform to trade commodities with storage that stops afaltoxin and other PHL?
The teams at <https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/agricultural-innovation/ideas/storage-to-reverse-grain-postharvest-loss>

and
<https://challenges.openideo.com/goto/challenge/agricultural-innovation/jobs-for-youth-to-reverse-cereal-grain-postharvest-loss>

would like to read your comments, 
William

Spam
Photo of William Lanier
Team

Hello Nicholas,
I believe we met at the Nairobi Esoko office and the aflatoxin business plan question was making Esoko nervous then.
If you provided a reference that was more than a testimonial for "Esoko sends any information to improve farmers' quality of life" I would counter... Then why not publish grain aflatoxin levels right beside complete and time sensitive (ahem) market prices and create consciousness of the food quality (APHLIS, CHp 1.7) that is stacked in sacks in warehouses?
Why because politically correct supports warehouses and "the value of knowledge is not always equal to the exposure it gets" (SIANA, 2015).
The high quality content already exists. However, it hinges on aflatoxin levels that are less than politically correct... as Dr. Cardwell (2015) presents, growers
"whose scale of operation is too small to be able to produce SAFE FOOD, are too small to farm maize (or any aflatoxin sensitive staples [grain])".

Try suggesting that Esoko call center should charge clients for sms that tell growers they are to small to grow safe food.
References:
APHLIS, 2015. African Postharvest Losses Information System.
Retrieved: <www.aphlis.net/>

Cardwell, K. (2015). Aflatoxin Identifying the Way Forward [The TOPS Program’s Conversations about Aflatoxin] by Dr Kitty Cardwell. Retrieved: <www.fsnnetwork.org/sites/default/files/Kitty%20Cardwell%20Presentation.pdf>
SIANA, (2015). Agriculture Matters! Swedish International Agriculture Network Initiative (SIANI) [handout at 2nd Africa Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Conference UNEP (Nairobi)]. <www.siani.se>.

Regards,
William

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