Connecting Farmers to Traders with Sauti Soko
Johnstone currently resides in Kisumu’s Ndogo Area, Kakamega county where most households depend on crop farming for their livelihoods. He cultivates sweet potatoes and passionfruit on four acres of land.
In the aftermath of harvesting, he was worried about finding a ready market for his produce. Markets are typically volatile in East Africa and few MSME farmers can afford to time their harvests with the highest prices. Often, farmers must consider spoilage and their limited on-site storage capacity when marketing their goods. This can be an extremely stressful time for farmers like Johnstone, who often grow their produce on credit.
It is during this time that he approached his friends to see if they would know anyone that would be interested in buying his farm outputs. One of them referred him to the Sauti Soko virtual marketplace platform by helping him dial *716#, and proceeded to register as a seller. His friends’ referral to Sauti Soko was a turning point for his business as he was able to access a much wider market than he usually did. Johnstone described that,
“I was able to sell my farm outputs to buyers from Kakamega and other far-off places at better prices compared to those offered by local markets.”
Since registering with SautiSoko, he has sold eight bags of sweet potato from the digital marketplace platform, each weighing between 110-120 kgs. The first buyer, from Uganda, bought six bags, and the second, from Kakamega, Kenya, purchased two.
Before, he only sold to local traders within Kakamega county, but now he has expanded to other East African countries, which has produced a higher income, a greater standard of living, and a greater sense of dignity for him. He also described that,
“Due to my success story from the digital platform, I have recommended my fellow farmers believing they will get the same positive impact.”
Hitting this milestone has motivated him to continue building his farming business. He hopes to find more buyers outside Kenya soon and connect with traders who can help him export his produce. By participating in a larger market can contribute to fairer and more stable prices. By integrating Sauti Soko’s virtual marketplace into his business, Johnstone hopes to build his capital, better time his growing and harvesting, and open more stable credit opportunities that will help him grow his business.
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