ICT-enabled Outgrowing Operations: Highlights from Africa

  • Date Posted: March 25, 2013
  • Authors: Anna Garloch (ACDI/VOCA), AFE
  • Organizations: Action for Enterprise
  • Document Types: Primer or Brief
  • Donor Type: US Agency for International Development

Supported by USAID’s Fostering Agriculture Competitiveness Employing Information Communication Technologies (FACET) project under the FIELD-Support LWA, this briefing paper highlights how a variety of ICT applications (from simple to complex) can be utilized in outgrowing operations to improve efficiencies, reduce business risks and costs associated with sourcing from smallholders, and improve benefit flows to rural farmers. In addition, the paper includes snapshot examples from over a dozen African agribusinesses, with links to longer profiles.

Highlighted companies and products include:

  • Direct deposits for payments to farmers (Parmalat in Zambia, P4P and E-Zwich in Ghana)
  • Integrated GPS and GIS (GeoTraceability in Ghana, SubSaharan Africa)
  • SMS-based database systems for procurement planning (Kenyan green bean exporter)
  • Soil testing to improve outgrower revenues (Crop Nutrition in Kenya)
  • Automated bulk voice messaging with feedback loop (MojaCast in Ghana)
  • Electronic vouchers to facilitate farmer payments and reduce cash transactions (Dunavant, Zoona Zambia)
  • Digitizing Weigh and Pay Systems (Illovo Sugar and Tanga Fresh Dairy in Zambia)
  • Bulk SMS and radio programs to improve direct communications (Tanga Fresh Dairy in Zambia)
  • Supply chain management software (mFarm in Ghana, Syngenta’s FarmForce in SubSaharan Africa, AgriManagr in Kenya)
  • Input tracking systems using barcodes (Armajaro in Ghana)
  • Traceability and quality assurance software (Muddy Boots in SubSaharan Africa)
  • Mobile farmer education networks (Hershey’s CocoaLink in Ghana)