Nairobi News

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Buying and selling produce made easy

Your granary is full, the local market is flooded and competition is intense. You want to explore other markets and reach out to a buyer in the furthest corner of the country, but you do not know what to do.

Or you could be a buyer stuck in the city and probably have no time to spare and desperately need to visit Kitale to scout for the fair sellers for 20 bags of potatoes.

Well, it needs not to be a hassle anymore as Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange (Kace) has developed the SoHe (Soko Hewani) system to a friendlier format.

The new improved version uses Interactive Voice Response (IVR) as opposed to the previous times where Kace used a call centre to get information from buyers and sellers of farm produce.

Now buyers and sellers through a mobile phone call the number 0700460460 to get in touch with KACE system to leave a voice message. Later, the system administrators translate the information and feed it to the sokohewani.kacekenya.co.ke website.

“Unlike times before when buyers and sellers would call the centre and wait for the administrators to answer to leave a message, the new platform allows direct connection and requires the caller to leave their details and the message on the bid,” says Rua Jefwa IT Specialist, KACE.

In the event where the caller does not leave a clear message, the administrators call back and the system allows as many as 1000 calls at a go.

Kace has established in various places in the country where farmers can visit them and have the information posted on the website on their behalf. Some of the centres are found in

Machakos, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu.

Since the platform uses IVR, a farmer or a buyer using a smart or a dumb phone are able to call in.

And on the website buyers and sellers are able to access numbers of the other traders on the site and arrange buying or selling.

“When we get offers and bids that are matching we go further and link the buyer and seller,” he added.

“And in case one is doubtful of the other we bring them together and supervise the transaction.”

The system comes in Kiswahili and English. It is also convenient since transactions can be conducted away from the website.

Because farmers and pastoralists can equally use the platform, Kace is working in partnership with county government to improve its reach.

The new system was developed by KACE and International Trade Centre with funding from the ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland.