Being Zimbabwean born and having worked with smallholder farmers with the UK Department for International Development’s Progressio, I know first hand the challenges faced by farmers across the developing world.
On average, smallholder farmers are resident 5+ hours away from the nearest city with markets. The challenge therefore becomes moving produce to these markets. In the absence of basic logistics, the only option farmers are left with, is to sell produce to middleman and brokers. These exploitative buyers, purchase produce for a less than a 1/3rd of the actual value. This produce ends up in local supermarkets and across Africa, and over 20Billion dollars is unevenly distributed across the continent’s value chain.
The problem is not unique to Africa. There are over 500million smallholder farmers in the world and they produce food for 2 billion people. Our vision is to shape social and economic change by helping smallholders access previously unreachable markets through the use of SMS.
Zazu aggregates smallholder farmers to meet buyer demand and transport the goods. This, was borne out of a desire to ensure farmers increase profits and buyers obtain good provenance on their produce, which will ultimately be passed to the consumer.
We saw from the beginning, Zazu as an incredible vehicle to bring equitable value chain development for smallholder farmers across the world. If you have or know someone who has worked in any aspect of this value chain, in any developing country, then we would love to hear about it. Because ultimately, to create the perfect blend of technology and development that is in unison with policy aspirations, enterprise methods and effective supply chain management, we can’t do it alone.