Using a cell phone to buy and sell produce

With rapid aance in technology, there is a need to revolutionise the way we do business to handle the fast pace at which the world is moving. This includes the way we carry farming or conduct agribusiness. Innovators have jumped in to help farmers move forward with that.

Isaac Omiat, 25, and Lisa Katusiime, 24, software engineering students from Makerere University, have created a smartphone application (app)alled Agromarket Day. It links farmers and creates a platform for them to market, buy and sell their produce in the simplest and fastest ways possible via mobile phones.

“We created this application to show that every day can be a market day for the farmer and the name comes from the idea of the particular market days that we have in the city,” Omiat explains.

He adds that when he was younger, his father would send him to the market to sell farm produce. But, sometimes, he would fail to make a sale and would go back home with the produce. This experience birthed the idea on how to make it possible for farmers to aertise their produce and get buyers.

So Omiat and Katusiime built on this idea to create an app to enable farmers make transactions easier without going through the vagaries of produce markets. The app so far has registered over 320 farmers and exporters that use it to connect with one another to simplify the trading.

A grouping system has been created for the farmers where the app will be installed in a phone and be given to the group and they will be trained on how it works.

Also, a website has been set up and the duo are in the process of creating a menu-driven Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)ode that can be used on the basic phone.

The USSD code (a number that you can dial on your mobile phone that will direct you to the information that you need) provides a service that has all the information.

In their future plans, the software engineers aim at creating more technological solutions that will be open to all farmers that are interested in aertising, selling and looking for produce.

How the app works

AgroMarket Day is an application that works on the Android operating system and can be downloaded at Google Play store. It has a menu of options which include markets, start selling, farm inputs and tools and agriculture news.
Markets: This option shows districts and the markets. It gives details on the farmers trading, produce being sold, location of the seller or buyer and the information about the market.

Start selling: This requires one to create an account to allow him or her upload produce information. All they have to do is take pictures of the produce, select the category, fill in the details on quantity and price. After purchase, he or she can take the product off the market.

Farm input and tools: This gives information on where to purchase genuine farm tools, seedlings and pesticides. There is a team that verifies these products to ensure they are of good quality.

Farmers trading: This shows the different farmers that have produce to trade. It displays what is being sold, the quantity and the contacts. One can leave a contact address for the interested sellers.

Search: This gives you all the details of what you would like to know and purchase.

Agric news: This provides news on everything agricultural from the market prices to pest control.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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