Vodacom's agricultural initiatives
To celebrate World Food Day on the 16th of October, we look at the initiatives launched by Vodacom to assist in the agricultural industry of South Africa.
World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honour of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. As a member state, South Africa also commemorates the day through hives of activities aimed at highlighting food and nutrition security.
World Food Day Objectives
- To heighten public awareness on issues such as absence and scarcity of food in the country and to strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
- To enhance the participation of rural people, particularly women and the underprivileged in decisions and events impacting their living conditions.
- To raise awareness of the public regarding the contribution of indigenous forests to food security and nutrition.
Vodacom’s Women Farmers Programme
Vodacom Foundation, in partnership with UN Women and South African Women in Farming (SAWIF) recently launched the Women Farmers Programme countrywide. Aimed at transforming the face of South Africa’s smallholder agricultural segment to reflect all citizens of the country and create a more inclusive agricultural economy for women who come from poor communities, the Women Farmers Programme equips women, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds, with the digital skills for today’s digital economy to meaningfully participate in the mainstream economy.
The programme, created in partnership with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and SAWIF, leverages Vodacom’s ICT capabilities to train women from rural areas in digital literacy to enable them to use technology to connect to more opportunities.
Following this, these farmers are then able to participate in the second phase of the programme which will connect small scale farmers across the agricultural value chain to enterprises and potential suppliers looking to source agricultural goods, such as crops and livestock, by registering on Vodacom’s Connected Farmer app.
Connected Farmer by Vodacom
Vodacom Connected Farmer, developed by Vodacom Business, is a web and mobile phone enabled enterprise solution, offering a comprehensive, practical and user-friendly platform for agribusiness to engage and do business with smallholder farmers.
Vodacom Connected Farmer is a cloud-based managed service that provides agri-services to local farmers within the smallholder farmer industry. Sourcing from smallholder farmers, as a result, becomes more realistic and executable for food manufacturers and retail businesses, increasing the number of smallholders and subsistence farmers in commercial agricultural value chains. A farmer can use any mobile device on any network to access the Connected Farmer’s platform and, through SMS, receive valuable information, including weather forecasts and market prices.
The platform enables the enterprise to capture transactions with the farmers, allowing the agribusiness to record the farmers’ crop production at the point of delivery and to communicate volumes, quality and price to the farmers via SMS.
This offers immediacy and transparency regarding transactions. In addition, the agribusiness and even third-party providers can now issue vouchers to the farmers, who can exchange the SMS-based vouchers at participating dealers for farming requirements, such as seeds, fertiliser and access to mechanisation.