An indigenous eCommerce firm based in Ibadan, Oyo State, Afrimash Limited, has stressed the importance of robust technology solutions in enhancing food security and production in the agricultural sector.
The firm said the application of the right technology solutions would help Nigerian farmers get the best inputs such as equipment, livestock, seedlings, fertilizers, and quality vaccines that would enable them to increase food production while making agriculture convenient.
Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Afrimash Limited, Ahmed Ayoade Oyedotun, said the company had been engaging farmers designed fintech the last four years.
He said: “Afrimash runs an eCommerce platform, or farmers to access quality inputs from verified farm input suppliers. Using our online platform, farmers get quick and convenient access to a variety of inputs, place their orders online, and receive their farm inputs delivered to their locations across Nigeria.
“We run a system that ensures farmers can shop online with peace of mind. In the past four years, we have been offering agriculture-based eCommerce services via our platform where farmers can get tools, and other agricultural inputs.”
He said although access to quality inputs remained one of the biggest challenges that farmers face in Nigerian and Africa, Afrimash would continue to bridge the gap using technology.
“Today, quite a number of farmers have internet access and we leverage on the ever-increasing internet penetration rate in Nigeria. This guarantees us of consistent increase in the number of people that can access our eCommerce site. Aside from internet penetration, the GSM penetration rate in Nigeria is high and constantly growing.
“This means that farmers who do not have internet access will have feature phones to make phone calls. So, we have developed a hybrid system that makes it easy for farmers to buy even without the internet through our dedicated shopping assistants that farmers can call, using their feature phones,” Oyedotun said.
On the market acceptability, Oyedotun noted that over the years, farmers had come to believe and have confidence in them, which he said, transcended to higher patronage.
Speaking of patronage and market acceptability, the Senior Lead Communication Executive of Afrimash Limited, Eshett Goodness Mfonobong, said: “When we started in 2016, a lot of pessimists said that farmers were not online, but we have since realised that they were wrong because a lot of our customers come through referral.
“We have lots of referrals because we made shopping easier for them while ensuring that we have quality products delivered to these farmers. The market and the farmers have come to accept us over the years for what we stand for which is quality and convenience.”
The firm called on government and financiers to partner with farmers for increased food production and security in the country.
“We have an overriding goal of making agriculture convenient for farmers by connecting farmers with quality inputs and products. This has been Afrimash focus since we started in 2016 and today, we have about 20,000 farmers as clients and customers,” Oyedotun added.