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Shared economy – a low-cost solution to an expensive problem?

Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR via Flickr.

Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR via Flickr.

Female smallholder farmers have low access to markets due to time constraints, lack of market information and transportation disadvantage. These factors reduce their competitiveness and make them dependent on middlemen.

The emergence of digital information service (DIS) in Kenya such as mobile and online marketing platforms like M-Farm, Soko Freshi, Mkulima Young, Shamba Digital and SheTrades provides an avenue for women to directly and effectible market their products.

Women owned rural agricultural business face many constraints and receive fewer services and support than those owned by men. The advent of digital information services offer opportunity for women to access markets that were hitherto inaccessible to them hence become innovation leaders in agriculture.

Our new Expert Group seeks to explore how Kenyan female farmers can benefit from collaborative purchasing of local produce. The Group will research how digital services can lead to more business for women through collaborative purchasing and distribution. The aim of the intervention is to identify, synthesise and disseminate lessons from players implementing mobile and online marketing platforms in Kenya and Sweden with female farmers as the main beneficiaries.

This project is a collaboration between Inclusive Business Sweden, pool.farm  – a Swedish technical solution that addresses the challenge of managing collaborative transport of things, Chalmers University of Technology, AgriProFocus and the African Women Agribusiness Network (AWAN).

Focusing on the social, economic and environmental benefits of shared economies in food production and distribution, the project will provide a forum for women smallholder farmers, policy makers, businesses and experts interested in bringing female entrepreneurs closer to markets through mobile, web based applications, collective buying and transportation. The outcomes of the project will be disseminated through this forum.