Grantee: Virtual City Ltd.
Project name: “Agro Voucher Solution”
Grant amount: £623,618
Project start date: 1st July 2014
Project duration: 3 years 6 months
Countries benefiting: Kenya and Rwanda
Description of the organization:
Virtual City is a Kenya based mobile technology provider that specialises in supply chain automation, particularly in the agriculture and the Fast Moving Customer Goods (FMCG) sectors. Its solutions provide supply chain visibility, thereby reducing fraud, increasing efficiency, and creating data-driven insights.
Virtual City will create an agro voucher warehouse receipt system to enable grain market buyers and sellers (including farmers, collection centres, co-operatives, agro dealers, input suppliers and processers) to use stored value to buy and sell staple food commodities using an enterprise mobile powered platform. The receipting system brings numerous benefits to market actors. It uses a mobile platform to link market actors, automating buying processes, reducing potential transaction fraud, and enabling access to finance. On one end of the system is the creation of a warehouse receipt which farmers receive upon delivery of their produce which can be used to make payments either immediately or on credit. Aggregators and service providers can accept, hold, convert to collateral or distribute the warehouse receipts in the form of Agro Vouchers as tradable alternatives to cash at any point in time or as prepaid credit tools. In this way the vouchers can be aggregated and be available in different hierarchies created in the system including use by farmers for collateral. The voucher also enables farmers to develop a credit history based on their transactions, which can further improve bank financing opportunities. Moreover, the Agro Voucher solution presents a new business model that enables transactional revenue to be shared amongst market actors, not just the top of the value chain. The system relies on mobile devices to enable all the transactions. The farmer only needs a simple mobile phone in order to participate on the platform, using SMS communication. The system also builds upon and links to existing Virtual City solutions, namely: AgriManagr; Distributr, Researchr and Hewani Mobile Enterprise Platforms. Support from FoodTrade ESA will enable Virtual City to deploy the voucher and loyalty platform; create linkages between market players within and across supply chains; increase the value of raw produce for smallholder farmers of staple crops by providing them a receipt; increase the affordability and accessibility of process automation for the staple crops sector; and link into a larger, electronic trading platform under development, namely G-Soko, an initiative led by the Eastern African Grain Council.