In 2019, agriculture contributed 21.91% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And over the last decade, the sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP has been upwards of 19.99%. At the forefront of the agrarian economy are the smallholder farmers who accounted for more than 80% of the farming populace.
Over the last half-decade, the sector has seen the rise of Internet startups that provide funds using crowdsourcing and off-take farm produce from farmers, thereby allowing them to focus more on their farming activities.
Interestingly, apart from these startups, other players are interested in doing the same. Over the years, Tingo International Holdings has played its part in the agricultural ecosystem through Nwassa, a platform dedicated to African farmers.
Group Chief Executive, Tingo International Holdings Inc., Dozy Mmobuosi, affirms that the strength of the Nwassa platform is in working with rural farmers while also connecting other players in the value chain.
The end goal for Nwassa, according to Mmobuosi, is to improve the livelihood of the continent’s smallholder and rural farmers, starting with Nigeria. This is evident from Tingo International’s activities over the years, which include connecting farmers to off-takers and bringing them into the formal financial system with Tingo Pay, its in-house payment channel.
Beyond this, more than nine million Tingo branded mobile devices have been sold to these farmers with payment spread over three years to reduce the financial strain on them.
“With the devices, we (Nwassa) provide up-to-date information to the farmers in real-time,” Mmobuosi said. Information that the platform passes across to the farmers includes weather forecasts and prices of farm input and produce.
Access to extension service providers is another key feature on the Nwassa platform.
“The goal is to bring every player in the agricultural ecosystem under the same umbrella,” Mmobuosi pointed out. Tingo International Holdings Inc. is using Nwassa to empower every player in the agricultural value chain, using simple technology to enable easy access to the market as well as information.
According to Mmobuosi, access to timely extension services and off-takers that are readily available even before harvest are the reasons farmers on the Nwassa platform have recorded a sharp reduction in their post-harvest losses.
“Nwassa is the ultimate answer for farmers all over the world, as every farmer’s need in every location can be addressed without undue challenges,” Mmobuosi said.
Reiterating Nwassa’s mission to build an Africa that feeds itself and the rest of the world, Mmobuosi said the platform would continue to work with more African farmers and players in the agricultural value chain toward improving the livelihood of rural and smallholder farmers.
One way Nwassa does this is through its microloan targetted at those within and outside the Nwassa platform. The microloan is designed to ensure that cheap credit is available to people while also bringing them into the financial fold.
With its current activities, Mmobuosi believes Nwassa has the potential to be a one-stop-shop for African agribusiness within the next few years.