|Sara Maunda made $130 instead of $27 after receiving and using Esoko price alerts|
Product - New Features and ImprovementsThe past year saw us introducing the concept of accounts (Billing) and redesigning of MOBI, our Java based mobile application. There were loads of enhancements on mobile alerts, price upload and others, all in the 1.0.25 release.
Our 1.0.26 release was perhaps the most significant. We unveiled a brand new website with more information, we introduced the live feed feature called Buzz, and enabled users to access Esoko servers via data connection - MOBI (GPRS version). SMS Push templates, data sharing, permissions and dashboard widgets were also introduced.
Our 'Usability Release', Esoko 1.5, then followed with a focus on enhancing existing features such as price search, choosers and networks. We also added the ability to configure additional price types including off-lorry and farm gate prices, and released our profiling application on android. You can read the details of our product on our product blog.
Events - Partner Conference, mAGRIC ShowcaseIn April 2012, we hosted the 4th Annual Partner Conference that brought together our international partners to share ideas and learn from each other in person. The three-day conference saw participants discussing emerging themes in MIS and agriculture such as contract farming, food security and mobile agriculture. A product and tech showcase, followed by strategy discussions on the best ways to deploy Esoko in different environments were also held. Read more.
The first ever Mobile for Agricultural Development workshop (mAGRIC Showcase 2012) was also organised and hosted by Esoko. The workshop brought together NGOs, key practitioners, researchers, development partners, mobile operators, software developers, agribusinesses and government to explore how mobile phones may play a vital role in developing agriculture. There were product showcases form CocoaLink, SMSGH, Grameen Foundation, GIZ, IFDC and Esoko. Read more.
Success storiesMore lives were touched as we continued our quest to improve how agricultural markets work for people.
In Malawi, Sara used to accept whatever price a local trader offered her. This time, she had an SMS telling her that less than 40 miles away in Lilongwe, the price for groundnuts which she was selling, was about .75 cents – more than 4 times the price a vendor was offering. She travelled to Lilongwe and sold 150 kg earning about $130 dollars after costs – if she had sold to the vendor she would have made $27 dollars. “I would have sold to him if it weren't for the fact that I knew what the price was in Lilongwe through the messages I got from Esoko.”
In Uganda, Paul’s birds had cut their egg production from 69% to 40%. He received a message from Novus Neno Uganda and followed the nutritional advice. The results were amazing. “My birds can now afford to pay for their feeds and also pay something for my household.”
In Malawi, Land O’Lakes International Development designed 10-minute radio sessions on dairy production and marketing to improve waning milk yields, and used Esoko to set-up and deploy a series of SMS messages that informed isolated farmers of the program’s start times and reminded them of what was discussed. Through this, Land O’Lakes linked over 900 farmer-members to valuable farming and business information which they previously struggled to obtain.
And in Ghana, Mad. Grace used to buy 200 bags of maize each for GH₵70 in the Kwame Danso market (Brong Ahafo). It cost her GH₵7 to transport each bag to Kumasi (Ashanti). Through the ADVANCE project, she got an SMS from Esoko telling her that a bag of maize cost GH₵65 in the Ejura (Ashanti) market and after enquiries she realised that transporting each bag from Ejura to Kumasi would cost her GH₵5. Armed with this new information, Grace switched markets and now saves GH₵1400 on each round of trading activity.
So there goes 2012. We believe 2013 will be more exciting and we look forward to working with you all to achieve greater impacts.