In recognition of the agro-based nature of the Zimbabwean economy, Econet Wireless has launched the EcoFarmer Club – a facility which offers farmers access to a rich bundle of services, that include agricultural commodity prices, valuable farming tips, relevant local weather information and a mobile trading platform which links farmers to buyers.
EcoFarmer is not a new product as it has been around for the past 15 or so years. But today EcoCash introduced some new and interesting services that will no doubt push EcoFarmer into the mainstream of agricultural services.
“The launch of the EcoFarmer Club in an agro-based economy demonstrates the company’s quest to offer relevant products and services that meet the needs of ordinary Zimbabweans where they are,” said Econet CEO Douglas Mboweni.
“We are excited to launch this service that will serve millions of farmers and consumers of farming services throughout our country,” Mboweni said.
“We always pride ourselves in our ability to use technology to address the needs of ordinary people. The EcoFarmer Club is an example of one such product,” the Econet CEO said.
The company has led the digital and fintech revolution that has transformed the way Zimbabweans from all walks of life transact and do business through its integrated EcoCash mobile money platform.
Mboweni said the EcoFarmer Club would come with a transactional personalised EcoFarmer Club Card, which entitles farmers to discounts on vital farming inputs and implements from approved suppliers. Farmers can get tips for the following crops and livestock: Maize, Groundnuts, Sorghum,Tomatoes, Tobacco, Cattle, Chickens and goats.
Farmers will get this tips through tip bundles that ensure you get a tip for any 3 of the above crops/livestock. At the time of writing, we are not sure if these tips bundle will come at an extra cost but I believe that is not the case. We will reach out to Econet and clarify.
Farmers will now have access to market prices for 37 commodities from over 30 municipal markets across Zimbabwe. This will mean that farmers who are EcoFarmer Club Members will no longer fall victim to middlemen who buy their produce at inaccurate price points and then resell and make a profit.
These alerts will allow farmers to see what buyers are looking for. These are buyers within your ward or district, so there should be no headaches in relation to transportation of the goods once they are available for buyers.
So far Econet has listed the following companies as buyers:
- Maungwe Honey
- Peak Trading
- Bobster Investments
- Montana Carswell Meats
- PHI Commodities
More buyers will be added in the future.
EcoFarmers trading platform actually allows EcoFarmer Club Members to sell their crops to buyers using their phone. Farmers will be able to register their commodities, create offers, and to accept or reject bids all on their device. Of course there will be grading standards that farmers have to meet and Econet is partnering with a number of buyers who will inform farmers what these standards are.
EcoFarmer Club-Weather Information
Weather forecasts will also be accessible if you’re a club member and these forecasts will help farmers who are planning on what to plant and when to plant it.
EcoFarmer Club Card
Club members will also get a Club Card that will make them eligible for exclusive discounts of upto 10% at the following channel partners:
- Steward Health
- Graniteside Electrical & Hardware
- Arda Seeds
One would expect that channel partners will also be added down the line but most of the partners who have signed up have shops in more than one province so that’s not a problem at launch.