Money and market access mean more food
With the African population projected to double by 2050, there’s an urgent need to increase food production while sustainably managing natural resources. This poses a number of fundamental challenges to farmers and agricultural practices in Africa. While agriculture accounts for about 60% of jobs and 23% of the continent’s GDP, more than 60% farmers are smallholders who lack three crucial things that would allow them to increase their productivity: information and knowledge about how to farm smarter, access to credit and high-quality agricultural inputs and reliable access to markets to avoid food waste and supply chain inefficiencies. These challenges are compounded by climate change as seasonal rainfall becomes more volatile and unpredictable, often leading to lost or delayed harvests.
Tulaa helps smallholder farmers in rural Africa increase their income by improving their productivity, bring more fallow land under cultivation, reduce post-harvest wastage and find better prices for their produce through assured routes to market. It delivers these services through an online platform that serves as a one-stop shop throughout the entire value chain and agricultural cycle. Using their mobile phones, Tulaa’s customers can obtain information about weather, soil and agricultural techniques, purchase high-quality seeds, pesticides and fertiliser on credit and sell their produce.
Pre-financing inputs enables the farmers to bring more fallow land under cultivation. Also, the guaranteed market for their produce – mostly potatoes – Tulaa provides the economic security they need to invest into their farms and productivity. Finally, the well-orchestrated logistics, tailored to farmers’ exact harvesting time, helps eliminate losses between farm and market, which typically account for 30% to 50% of total harvest volumes in Tulaa’s customer base.
Tulaa also generates value for other ecosystem actors in the smallholder segment by entering into long-term contractual agreements between buyers and farmers for specific volumes and timeframes and by bridging the financing and distribution gap among agricultural producers, processors and retailers.
IMPACT ACHIEVED SO FAR?
Launched in 2017, Tulaa has developed a mobile money solution that allows smallholder farmers to lay away and borrow money to purchase inputs, while its virtual marketplace brings together suppliers, financial institutions and farmers.
In 2019, it registered 21 000 farmers, of whom 8 000 applied and 3 300 were approved for loans. In 2019, 410 farmers opted for market linkage services, of whom 75 also received credit from Tulaa. The company sold produce to 171 unique buyers in 2019.
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