LOCAL farmers are set to benefit from an crop marketing initiative that provides online market intelligence including commodity prices and lists of buyers and sellers.
The marketing strategy was introduced by local firm Sellagro that is set to provide marketing solutions for both small-scale and commercial farmers.
The website was aimed at providing farmers and buyers an interface, empowering the farmer who has often been short changed by middlemen.
Sellagro co-founder Rebecca Khumalo said: “Sellagro.com will enable farmers to sell their goods directly to the consumer free of charge.
“We have been engaging farming communities, farmers unions, international farming organisations and the reception has been overwhelming, Zimbabwe Young Farmers’ Union are already a partners.”
Khumalo added: “It will not be just a market place for the farmers, but a news source for the farmers as the site will publish articles that are relevant to farmers from across Africa.”
The online market place will give an opportunity for small-scale farmers to combine their produce in a bid to satisfy the demands of major markets like supermarkets looking to buy in bulk.
“Prices will be reduced because they are determined by the supply and demand concept,” she said.
Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union president Abdul Credit Nyathi said: “We welcome such platforms that expose the farmer to his/her market directly. This would enable our farmers to profit from the farming as very few have been doing so.
“This will allow the farmer to negotiate prices, have a say in the pricing of inputs and get a feel of what the market is like, unlike a case where there is a middleman determining what the farmers produce would cost.”
A young farmer from Gokwe Takudzwa Mushandu applauded the initiative, but had his own concerns.
“It is a good initiative that will see us tapping into our target market effortlessly if it becomes a success. However, one would argue that most of our elderly farmers are not online and they could face difficulties trying to sell their products online.”
Khumalo said they would soon be recruiting people that would go into the farming communities teaching farmers how to use the website to maximise
She said Sellagro would soon roll out a payment system that would enable users to trade and make payments through the website as well.