Agriculture, Environment & Innovations Editor
Many farmers in Zimbabwe and other African countries still face many challenges in marketing their products. Most of the time, they are faced with unpredictable market prices, payment constraints and access to lucrative markets. The technology has been touted as a potential innovative solution to help farmers access markets and improve their incomes. In it, Sifelani Tsiko (ST), editor-in-chief of Agric, Environment & Innovations, talks to Edwin Moyo (EM), president of Nhimbe Fresh Exports, a major exporter of peas, stone fruits and berries. to the European Union, on how his company has partnered with young entrepreneurs to create an app to help young farmers thrive.
ST: Recently, Mr. Moyo, you tweeted that the digital Infinity platform is now ready to accept and connect farmers to markets. Can you tell us more about how this new digital platform will help Zimbabwean farmers access markets?
EM: The digital platform is not owned by Nhimbe, but by young entrepreneurs who have partnered with Nhimbe to use our BRC accredited packaging products for Nhimbe and their markets. Our main goal as Nhimbe is to work with new young farmers and entrepreneurs, because we believe they are the future of our country.
We must therefore develop companies that will project themselves into the future in other ways by finding new ways of doing business with a new goal for the future. So anyone between the ages of 25 and 45 is our development target.
ST: What motivated you to develop such a platform?
EM: The platform is designed to connect farmers to markets and vice versa connect markets to producers. We believe this is the only sustainable way to grow crops. Farmers often grow produce they cannot sell or have to lower prices to cover costs due to lack of markets.
This platform solves this problem in that a farmer can grow a product for a specific market at the right time. It solves the problems of farmers growing produce when demand is low in the market.
It has a demand curve analysis that shows the farmer the best time to grow a product and maximize price or income.
ST: Was the app-based platform designed with the needs of farmers in mind? Will it be friendly for farmers?
EM: Thus, the platform was formed with the needs of farmers and markets. It’s market driven in the sense that we go to the market and get programs for the whole year.
We then send the programs back to the farmer to produce. Most of the customers are hotels, supermarkets, restaurants, lodges, regional and international supermarket chains, all looking for good quality products packaged under food safety systems.
BRC, which stands for British Retail Consortium, aims to harmonize food safety standards throughout the supply chain. Their standards guarantee it.
ST: Data plans are expensive and the majority of farmers in Zimbabwe still struggle to access the internet. How will your application overcome the challenges associated with this?
EM: Thus, the platform now allows farmers and buyers to discuss together via the Nhimbe packing station. We believe that once our farmers have a ready market and can sell their product for the best price, they can afford to pay for tuition, medical services, data and other service providers like the Electricity will settle in as there will be a lot of economic activity going on.
A good example was Cashel Valley where we changed many lives and brought economic development. The results were there for all and that would have been the best example if he had not become political.
ST: Some farmers have been duped by dubious online e-commerce platforms for farmers. What safeguards do you have in place to ensure that the Infinity Platform is a transparent, open and trustworthy space for farmers and buyers to negotiate fair prices and offers?
EM: There is no room for night flights on the platform. Everything is flawless and market driven.
ST: What are the main markets you are targeting for Zimbabwean farmers?
EM: We target major markets in Europe, UK, UAE and South Africa. We are also targeting local markets such as hotels, lodges and restaurants.
The platform will start by managing local markets.
ST: What is your comment on the growth of agricultural electronic platforms in Zimbabwe? What are the growth prospects for this sector?
EM: We develop the platform through selected farmers before moving in to attract many more farmers. We got funding through an international microfinance that I can’t name now.
ST: Looking ahead, what are your future hopes for the digital platform and the quality of livelihood for the Zimbabwean farmer?
EM: We need to make sure that our young farmers grow up with a new culture and the right mindset to manage the future through the right economic and political policies. In this way, we would have left our country in the hands of responsible leaders and citizens. Then we can afford to die.
Where is my motivation here? It’s finding a new purpose beyond yourself and leaving the world a better place than I found it.