No internet: Farmers can now access the market through mobile solutions

For long, farmers in East Africa, particularly in Somaliland, faced challenges in getting their produces to the market at a possible price. Additionally, they faced delays in accessing finances timely and affordable matters? How is that true when we are living in the age of Smart technology?
For the past decades and since the decline of Somali’s central government, the only marketing model followed by our farmers was to deal with a middle man, who greatly exploited between the farmers and the market. In this process, the farmers sold their precious produces at a cheaper price to a middle man who then sells at a more profitable price. This left farmers frustrated and quite often discouraged to continue the practice of farming and many times their corps got rotten at the farm.
When we realise these problems, Shaqodoon’s technology for development (T4D) department with support from Spark (a Dutch development company), designed a mobile-based market information system to deal with farmer’s market engagement challenges. The new system  needs no internet. How is this possible with no regular internet connection? It is a simple, mobile solution that negates the need for an internet connection. This is now allowing the farmers to direct and lead their own futures.  The new mobile-based MIS address the following:
  • Provide information to Somali farmers to get a fair price for their produce
  • Diversification of farm produces to reduce exaggeration of the market.
  • Reduce the exploitation of middle man
  • Linking the farmers directly to sellers (market) in an innovative way.
How it works
The market information system or the farmer’s application has two sections, a voice or mobile based section connected to three digit short code, like 315, and web-enabled section administered by operators (Campany, Ministry of agriculture, etc).
The shortcode is a user-friendly telephone number primarily meant for following types of users;
  • Farmers: connecting  to the market information
  • Buyers: connecting  to farmers
  • Price tellers: to update the price of items every day
  • Agricultural product companies: connected to farmers to sell seeds
  • Agricultural experts: give advice to farmers
  • Operators: company that facilitates selling between farmers and buyers
  • Ministry of agriculture:  getting agricultural data for  reporting and planning issues
Calling the shortcode, it gives different options not only to farmers but also to buyers who are looking for information about farmer’s produces. The voice-based system enables farmers to listen to daily prices of their products as buyers would do. Most importantly, without moving to the nearest town, at their farms, the farmers can sell their produces through their mobiles by calling the short code for free at the moments. It was great to gain support from Telesom company, a leading telecommunication company to sponsor the system for two years and let the farmers enjoy the process. Additionally,  the system connects farmers to agricultural companies and experts for tools and advice respectively. On the other hand, buyers can buy farmers products by calling the short code and back-end web Operator Company will facilitate the delivery of goods. Furthermore, the ministry of agricultural development in Somaliland has some levels of access to know more about what type of crops are farmers planting this and the next season which helps them develop a greater understanding of farmers needs in country agricultural development planning.
The mobile/voice-based market information system is now called M-Dalag( Mobile Dalag, Dalag means crop). It was launched last year (2018) November during the commencement of global entrepreneurship week. Since then is accessed by more than 40 farmers and will expand to the rest of Somalia in the coming years to serve the farmers.
The minister of agricultural development on the launching of M-dalag, Nov, 13, 2018
Farmer at the commencement of M-dalag

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Hargabits Course one graduation (Get connected)

 

Hargeisa (Somaliland), 18th April 2019, Hargabits digital academy holds celebration graduation for this year’s student after finishing the first course, GET CONNECTED, part of the series courses that students should undertake to qualify for the certificate programs offered by the school. “We are happy to announce that this year’s batch finalized the first course, a foundational course that equips them with basic IT skills,” Says former Hargabits manager, Khadra Ali.

The first course, GET CONNECTED, lasts 8 weeks and teaches fundamentals and in that time students are graded on projects, assignments, attendance and general good behaviour. The best are moved on to the more rigorous second track for 22 weeks. From the second course, they all move to specialization.

Before Hargabits, 17-year old Rahma, says she could not turn on a computer. “ Before Hargabits, I loved ICT but never had the chance to touch a computer or learn how to with computer”-Rahma

At its last graduation ceremony, over 80% graduates were offered immediate decent employment and 10% started their own jobs and are currently making good progress in their careers.

Hargabits is an initiative of the Work in Progress Alliance, a consortium of organisations such as Oxfam Novib and Butterfly Works, a social and design innovations studio in the Netherlands. The digital school is locally partnered and managed by Shaqodoon organization, a vibrant growing NGO based on Somalia transforming the lives of youth through technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Since its beginning, Hargabits trained more than 126 students mainly from Hargeisa, Somaliland mainly who cannot afford to further their university education. Now, Shaqodoon organization has to endure to be instrumental to the success and sustainability of this initiative.

 

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Bosaso’s lobster star

Abdi Farah Yusuf is the star diver of Guled Fishing Company and the recipient of technical assistance in the fishery sector provided by LEAD Somalia partner Shaqodoon in December last year

The fishing company, based in Bossaso, is one of several SMEs that were assessed by Shaqodoon in 2017 in order to determine its challenges and needs. The needs assessment identified a number of skills that the company’s staff was lacking include particular expertise in diving and catching lobsters.

Abdi, a long-term employee of the company, attended the technical training which focused on different fishing techniques to locate and catch fish and other aquatic animals with diving skills to increase efficiency. Two months after having completed his training, Abdi has made a considerable impact on his company’s fish quota. Not only has there been an increase in the company’s fish quota, but he has since been promoted by the company to specialize in lobster fishing. Lately, the company provided him a diving gear and promised that they will award him 50% share of the lobster he catches.

After participating in the LEAD training, Abdi has shared the knowledge with other employees of the same Company so that they can take his perform his duties while he is away. The company acknowledges that such knowledge sharing has led to the expansion of the Company. Today the company opened an additional retail location in different areas of Bosaso town.

The Local Employment in Africa for Development (LEAD) programme focuses on economic sectors with potential for growth in Somalia, Tunisia and Libya. Read more….

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