Finding a way in the agri-ecosystem maze.
Increase in agricultural production improves food security, national export earnings, and industry and service expansion, providing jobs for growing populations. In Africa, approximately 70% of the rural poor rely on agriculture for their livelihoods and it is their primary source of income. World Bank statistics (2014) show that, whereas agriculture value-added as a percentage of GDP is 3% for the world on average, it is 32% for low-income countries. It is therefore prudent to bear down on refining the agriculture ecosystem.
On a basic microlevel — depending on how you are looking at things, or maybe in which way you are affected by it — refining the agricultural sector involves making sure that you can afford to eat. At macro-level, it involves addressing poverty as well as meeting the nutritional needs of a growing global population while also minimizing the environmental degradation associated with certain agricultural practices. To an extent, everyone has a part and a role they can play. So where are our paths crossing and how is Tswaanda paving its way?
For starters, we look at a few things:
Many farmers in Zimbabwe have stated that they want to engage with investors and funding — but don’t trust the system, know and understand how to, and are not quite sure of the impact on their overall business. With the war in Ukraine, food security is once again a hot topic. At a minimum, there is economic instability in the markets which heavily import agri-products yet farmers have the potential to produce for the global market. Tswaanda helps these farmers, by offering a comprehensive service — creating, storing and authenticating information, tracking the journey and provenance of goods — so that their potential to generate economic value is increased. We are improving financial and business transparency by enabling stakeholders to have traceable data to help in decision-making.
But what is a comprehensive service and what exactly are we trying to do?
- Help solve the issue in changing consumer trends. Being a food industry — consumer trends change constantly, affecting variability of
demand. The problem then becomes that most of the farmers in Zimbabwe, and in the rest of Africa as well, cannot afford variability in production and are into single commodity production. Therefore, due to the fluctuations in demand, they can sometimes have a large payout or a very minimal output from their investment. Overall, the experience is quite stressful, and many farmers have to deal with moving on if they deal with losses. We help mitigate this issue by offering consultancy services where we can advise on an agricultural development plan for transformation (supply and demand variability and cyclicality).
- Help solve the issues of commodities vs product. Commodities come from various sources. Within a particular grade, and with respect to a given variety, commodities coming from different suppliers, and even different countries or continents, are ready substitutes for one another. For example whilst two varieties of coffee bean, such as robusta and arabica, do have differing characteristics but two robustas, albeit from different continents, will, within the same grade band, have identical characteristics in all important respects. Agricultural commodities are generic, undifferentiated products that, since they have no other distinguishing and marketable characteristics, compete with one another on the basis of price. Commodities contrast sharply with those products which have been given a trademark or branded in order to
communicate their marketable differences. Small and middle scale farmers are often victims of competitive pricing because of market penetration. They usually don’t have the resources to market their produce and beat the competitive edge. We help mitigate this issue by offering consultancy services where we can advise on an investment development plan for commodity marketing and sales execution.
- Resolve issues in record keeping and inventory management. Bookkeeping and information management is a cross-sectoral issue that cripples farming management. From the moment a farmer contracts Company A to drill a borehole, up-to the point they procure equipment such as tractors, maintain the equipment and begin production — records are not properly kept therefore inventory is biased if they only record how much has been produced. We help mitigate this issue in two parts. The first part is: we encourage the use of Tswaanda App as a digital record keeper — capturing and storing information on a blockchain ledger that is immutable — and can be used to advise
on profitability and sustainability of farming business. The second part is: we offer consultancy services where we can advise on a digital
development plan for record keeping and data management that helps farmers in pricing optimization and their market outlook.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Now you have a better understanding of which path in the maze Tswaanda is taking, and how
we are solving and making the processes more efficient — reach out to us on twitter or linkedin Tswaanda. Or email email@example.com.