Market information ? rural kiosks and radio
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CTA. 2008. Market information ? rural kiosks and radio. Rural Radio Resource Pack 08/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57247
Market information points and a weekly radio programme are two strategies used by the Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange
Market information ? rural kiosks and radio Cue: The Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange, or KACE, is one of the pioneers of providing market information to smallscale farmers in Africa. From blackboards and websites to SMS messaging and radio broadcasting, KACE is working to give farmers the information they need to earn higher prices for their crops. The methods developed by KACE are now inspiring similar projects in other countries, and KACE itself is looking to expand its own operations in different regions of Kenya. So how do farmers benefit from an organisation like KACE? Eric Kadenge put that question to Wycliffe Ochieng, IT manager at the Nairobi headquarters. He began by explaining the role of the Market Information Points ? small rural offices that are working to both collect and distribute information to smallscale farmers. IN: ?The Market Information Point ? OUT: ? who happens to be a woman.? DUR?N: 5?27? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Wycliffe Ochieng, IT manager at the Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Ochieng The Market Information Point is an information kiosk based in the rural market. It?s quite simple. Managed by two staff, it has a desk, mobile phone, and where there is power we usually give them a very basic computer. So what happens at the Market Information Point at the rural market, on market days we have traders coming to the market. In this case also farmers, once they have their produce ready they take them to the market. Now we are trying to create a scenario where instead of the farmer sitting down in the market there with their commodities, they bring them to our office. The trading board has price information, so they are able to see what the prices are in different markets, so that will help them make a decision on how to sell their commodities. We also try to encourage them to bring them to our trading floor, our mini trading floor, where they can record their commodities. So we need such information like the type of the commodity, the quantity, the quality, and the price they are asking. So you will find this is much, much better. So we try to encourage the farmers, if you have such information then you don?t have to come with the whole commodity you have in your farm. Say I harvested 20 bags of maize, you don?t have to carry the 20 bags of maize to the market, and then maybe at the end of the day you are forced to sell a few at throwaway prices so maybe you can pay for transport or get something and return. It is more efficient and transparent as well. We also have the SMS service. What happens, information is collected every market day at the market information points. So this information is put together, transmitted to our HQ office in Nairobi where this information is processed. So we are working together with the leading mobile phone provider to provide this service. So it?s quite easy to subscribe, say for example I want to be receiving maize prices every morning, so I?ll subscribe to maize prices, and at every 9 o?clock in the morning we send this information to Safaricom server, and it is then pushed to the subscribers. So that is how it works. Kadenge Interesting. Now let?s focus attention specifically on the Soko hewani programme. What goes on on this programme? Ochieng Soko hewani is based in western Kenya. It?s a radio programme, 30 minutes radio programme. It comes every Tuesday between 8 and 8.30pm. So what happens is, from the previous programme the Soko hewani programme manager announced that if you have any offers and bids, then you can link up with KACE offices, or you can link up with him, and provide him with that information. So that information is aired during the programme. An example is, a client might have offered ?I have 20 bags of maize, I?m selling at this much.? So once that is aired we have people listening and calling on a number. You can call the Soko hewani number, and react to that. Say ?I?m interested in that? or make more enquiries. Kadenge What is the impact of this programme, Soko hewani? Ochieng I can say the impact is great. We see more enquiries. We can also measure that by the business activities that are going on at our offices. So if you mention Soko hewani, at least someone will say, I was able to buy, I was able to sell something through Soko hewani. Kadenge And for how long has the programme been going on? Ochieng The programme was launched in October 2006. It?s on a pilot basis, and we hope that in the future we?ll be able to scale it out to other regions in the country as well. Currently it has a listenership of at least 5 million people. So Soko hewani has a market of 5 million people. We are also having discussions with other local FM stations, especially in eastern Kenya. We are discussing with them and seeing if we can have a similar arrangement that we have in western Kenya. So future plans, we are trying to see if we can scale it out to other regions as well. Kadenge Now women do make quite a big proportion of the small-scale farmers out there. Are they benefiting from all these systems you have mentioned, and in what ways? Ochieng Women are benefiting greatly. I was really touched by listening to a woman, she?s a smallscale farmer in Bungoma district of western Kenya. She really told me nowadays how she has more time, once she has got the market information she knows where to sell. She doesn?t have to carry her commodities around. And she also told me the way KACE, or Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange, has linked her to the market, so she knows where to sell. This gives her time to do other things, and her income has really improved. So we were really happy to hear that from one of our farmers, who happens to be a woman. End of track.