Monday, August 19, 2013

Sokopepe set to revolutionize agriculture marketing

By Bob Aston

The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), facilitated by the Ford Foundation, are organizing an open day to celebrate the unveiling of its E-marketing and knowledge platform Sokopepe (Kiswahili word) for “virtual market”.

The ceremony will take place on Thursday 22, August, 2013, outside the Ng’arua Maarifa Centre at Sipili, Laikipia County. The Governor of Laikipia, HE Joshua Irungu is expected to grace the occasion as the guest of honour  He will be accompanied by county representatives (ministers) responsible for agriculture and ICTs among other key stakeholders in leadership and agriculture development. The open day will involve diverse key stakeholders, including ago-dealers, farmers, development and government agencies as well as various farmer-support institutions, such as cooperatives.

Besides launching of the platform, the open day will afford various stakeholders to network, share information and create new linkages. ALIN will showcase innovations and technologies from a few champion farmers from several of our Maarifa Centres across the country

Sokopepe is an initiative of Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) aimed at harnessing the power of Information and Communication Technologies in enabling farmers to efficiently reach and exploit a fair market for their produce. At the same time, it increases efficiency in the agriculture value chain providing a platform for farmers to share information and execute electronic transactions.

Most transactions on the Sokopepe platform can be completed on a basic mobile telephone handset, making it accessible to farmers in remote locations, many of whom do not own internet-linked mobile phones. Farmers and agro-pastoralists are encouraged to register with Sokopepe.

Sokopepe, unlike other e-platforms is the first truly holistic such e-service to be developed in the East African region. Importantly, most of its functions which include: market information;  real time commodity prices in all major urban centre’s; a mobile phone-based payment solution that works across all networks and which does not require users to own any mobile device, known as Tangaza Pesa (a first in Africa); and a services for farming tips based on simple SMS.

You can register to Sokopepe through or through (SMS) as follows

To register to SokopepeSend SMS: REG#IDNumber#FirstName#LastName#County, to 20245 (Wait for confirmation message to activate your account)

To receive market prices; Send SMS: Price#Commodity#Town, to 20245. For example (Price#Maize#Nakuru) and to get farming tips, Send SMS: (Tip#ProductName) to 20245 
Example Tip#maize

Welcome to the unveiling of Sokopepe, which lends itself to the theme of “Where buyers meet sellers”. Feel free to contact Nga’rua Maarifa Centre and be part and parcel of Sokopepe unveiling. We look forward to seeing you during the open day.

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