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OLX sets up farm input centres to ease stocks access

FINANCIAL STANDARD
By Lee Mwiti | Nov 22nd 2016 | 3 min read
By Lee Mwiti | November 22nd 2016
FINANCIAL STANDARD
OLX Country Manager Peter Ndiang'ui taken on 26th February 2016. PHOTO:WILBERFORCE OKWIRI

Online classifieds firm OLX has set up centres to help farmers easily access farm inputs and increase yields for their produce across various regions. Dubbed kilimo smart OLX centres, will see farmers who have placed orders of various inputs through OLX collect them from these centres. They will also enable farmers get other services such as liming and soil testing.

The first two centres have been rolled out in Nakuru and Nyandarua. Plans are underway to roll out more centres across other regions. Farmers who had a challenge accessing fertilisers can now use the platform to order farm inputs and have them collected at the Kilimo smart centres.

Speaking during the opening of the centres, OLX Country Manager Mr Peter Ndian'gui said that farm inputs have been a challenge for farmers to access and Kilimo smart centres will be strategically set up across various regions to give farmers easy access to fertilisers among other inputs.

"We rolled out a plan to set up Kilimo smart centres upon realizing the key challenge farmers face is farm inputs. Most of the inputs farmers use currently, affects the soil fertility and over a period of time, they realise a decrease in yields," Ndian'gui said.

"In order to enable these farmers generate more yields, it is important that right farm inputs are at their disposal. We are working with input partners Mavuno technology, Osho chemicals and Soil Cares to ensure farmers access quality inputs through our platform. These centres will further give them easier and faster access to these inputs once orders are placed. Our ultimate aim is to assist farmers generate more income by producing more yields than they are now."

Most farmers are not able to access the internet. Through the recently launched SMS service a farmer is able to now dial *877* and place their orders which is then sent to the centres for collection. "We realised that most farmers are not technology savvy and it is for this reason we are using the SMS service to enable farmers access our platform.

The service is free and orders are received and fulfilled instantly. OLX has expanded the agriculture category by not only providing farmers a platform to sell their products and livestock, it has also given them an opportunity to access farm inputs to increase yields," said Ndiang'ui.

David Gichui, Kinangop Sub-county agricultural officer welcomed the Kilimo Smart Centre initiative dubbing it a savior. Operating from a high cabbage-producing region, the agricultural officer said "the centres will help farmers in the region sell their cabbages and avoid wasting the excess produce as feeds for their livestock".

In maximizing the benefits that these centres will advance to farmers, Osho chemicals, a marketer, manufacturer and distributor of industrial and veterinary chemicals, promised to visit farms owned by the farmers who will subscribe to their partner service with OLX and conduct regular check-ups on pest control and soil testing.

OLX's principle service is to connect buyers and sellers. The online platform has been operational in Kenya since August 2012 when it started operations with just 500 products being listed per day.

 

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