The app has been in existence for less than a year compared to the Facebook page which has been in existence for 5 years. The numbers are not the same but the rate of adoption compared to the rate of growth of the FB page is almost the same. The limitations of the app is we are still developing and changing according to the users feedback compared to the Facebook which is already developed. The strength we have is the integration of the app, website and the social media. If a farmer post a product using the app it will appear in the website. Like wise if the post is made in the wesbsite it will appear in the app. We then amplify using the social media.
TRANSPORT: Directly, the app and its supporting platforms will facilitate transport by disseminating information regarding informal and formal transport services and ride sharing/car-pooling. In particular, the app will have a section for transporters to advertise their services at a low cost to their target market. For instance the transit lorries that transport inputs from the cities to the rural areas usually return to the city empty. Using the app they can post transport services available with information such as give their location, time for departure and the capacity they can carry. This will enable to the buyers/sellers to book them for transport. Likewise, informal transport sharing opportunities can be facilitated through the supporting platforms. The more informal transport opportunities will arise without cost through the app and the supporting platforms. Based on the feedback provided, we will consider transport more closely in the development of the app. Another way in which the app will facilitate transport is by providing the location of the seller, which means that the buyer can contact those sellers in their area that are more easily accessed. Informal transport arrangements may also be made where, for instance, a relative of the buyer picks up the produce as they pass by the seller’s location. Indirectly, the app will facilitate transport of product by improving social capital within the farming regions. Mediums that facilitate farmer networks and farmer-to-farmer sharing help build positive social capital. Research indicates that support from social networks improves access to transport and the amount of distance that can be traveled. BEYOND MARKET FRONTIERS: Mkulima Young began as a project focused in Kenya, but we received a large amount of interest and engagement in other East African countries. To respond to the needs of app users, we developed sections to accommodate those countries. Since allow app users to limit their searches to particular countries, we have noticed a large amount of posting originating from outside of Kenya but within the same region. In hindsight, it makes sense that Eastern African farmers would seek to engage with Mkulima Young’s platforms, as they experience the same, common issues as young Kenyan farmers in terms of market access. These market access issues include long supply chains, poor access to market information, small volumes of food of varying quality and inefficient markets. In addition, inter-border agricultural commodities’ trading is common among East African countries, and various institutions have sought to promote intra-regional trade in East Africa to promote food security and development, especially as Africa has low levels of intra-regional trade. Similar to expanding or interlinking other markets, increasing those who can use the app to include communities outside of Kenya improves the efficiency of the marketplace as more sellers and buyers can be connected. Further, encompassing broader communities allows farmers to expand into new markets. FARMERS & PHONES: The farming scenarios in the east African is changing and especially Kenya. This can be attested by the media attention given to agriculture with the main newspapers dedicating several pages in agriculture weekly. With the perforations of the mobile phones, younger tech savvy people now have access to the information about how to farm. One study illustrates that almost seven-in-ten Kenyans (68%) who own a cell phone and use it regularly to make or receive payments. Further, the subset of the population with phones and with the app does not exist in a vacuum. We’ve observed how they take on an informal external support officer role by sharing the information they have with their parents and others who do not have access to the app. From our experience, they tend to use the app on behalf of their parents or to tell the group or person not using the app about the market opportunity. These observations are reflective of the fact that ICT is recognized as a key way to promote social learning and market access opportunities. Accordingly, ICT interventions like our app make important contributions to agricultural productivity and sustainability, and mobile phones tend to be easily accessible to young people in Kenya. Also the app is integrated with website that can be accessed by ordinary phones. TRUST: Will have ratings on products and farmers profile. Also the admin moderates the postings. PRICING: Produce are posted at farm gate price by farmers BUSINESS MODEL: Developed as a social entrepreneur model solving a community need. Will encompass online advertisements and home deliveries of farm produce. DESIGN & BENEFICIARIES: Originally Mkulima Young was a Facebook page. Users demanded for a website and app. Feedback such as ratings, having different countries and having the app in windows and IOS. To have a premium product where users can pay a fee for a specialized service.