Agriculture

HappyFarmer: Revolutionary farming-centred platform

Written by Moonga Chowe

Tell us a few words about the founders and how the idea came

Small-scale crop and livestock farmers often living in remote areas don’t have access to valuable information about how to achieve optimum crop yield, animal health, latest prices of crops, milk or cattle, and they may not keep important details such as their cows’ gestation periods.

HappyFarmer aims to increase crop production, reduce cow mortality rates, produce healthier and more robust calves, and ultimately provide improved financial returns for the farmers. Every smart farmer will use HappyFarmer.

Our business was co-founded by two passionate innovative young minds. We both have some experience in the innovation department. Our biggest passion is innovation and entrepreneurship. We have in the past innovated a property listing website. Furthermore, we have participated in many innovation competitions and conferences and have gone on to win awards both on the continental level and on the global level. To mention just a few: I am a 2016 winner of the Young African entrepreneurs award organized by RUFORUM. We are 2016 semi-finalists of the Global Innovation through Science and technology (GIST) competition which had a pool of over 1,030 applicants from over 104 countries. We are among the 30 African entrepreneurs who were selected by the US department of state through GIST and Venturewell to participate in a Bootcamp in Johannesburg, South Africa. In addition, my co-founder is a computer science graduate with experience having worked with giant firms like PC Centre and V-tech in Namibia.

Link to online video (if available) 

https://vimeo.com/153667087

Your products and services

HappyFarmer is an SMS and voice-based mobile app that will work on the type of basic mobile phones that farmer owns. Each type of crop the farmer plants and each animal he/she owns is registered with the service, which then sends SMS reminders to the farmer about crops maintenance, milking schedules, immunisation dates and tips about nutrition and information about local crop and veterinary providers. Farmers will be empowered to improve their own lives through accessing critical agricultural information as opposed to depending on aid. What particularly excites about this Innovation is our business model will enable us to expand rapidly and maximise our reach and impact without dependence much on funding.

How the product/service works

It’s pretty easy to get on to HappyFarmer.

Farmers first register for the app on their phones by sending a message to a phone number. *500#. They will have the option of choosing a local language they are comfortable in.

Afterwards, the farmer’s inputs in important information about their crops and cows, such as when crop planting was done, type of crop, expected calving date and the breed of the cow.

The farmers then start receiving timely and tailored messages, advice and information. We will be charging K0.7 or $10 cents per SMS.

Your success factors

A superior product that will promote customer loyalty.

A business location that will assure that the services are delivered quickly.

Delivery people that have great customer skills.

Attaining a high level of visibility through the media, billboards, and other advertising.

Your factors differentiating and disruptive compared to the existing

Easy and quick access to information.

Real time market information.

Affordability.

Your business model (how do you make money?)

HappyFarmer operates on a fee-for-service model, with farmers paying a premium SMS rate for all interactions with the system. There are also plans to charge agricultural service providers and relevant government agencies for access to aggregate data. Registered users will all receive 3 SMSs (text messages) a week. Per SMS we charge K0.7 or $10 cents.

A few words about your competitors

There are a number of indirect competing services on the market. They have a number of weaknesses, among there is inefficiency, small-scale farmers have extremely hard time accessing information and its very expensive to obtain information e.g. if a small holder farmer wants to know whether his cow is serviced (pregnant), he will have to pay the Veterinary agents just to test if his cow is serviced or not. What we are offering is a solution that addresses these pressing issues that the farmers go through.

Your website 

The website is under development but it will be online very soon.

 

About the author

Moonga Chowe

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