The Senegalese primary sector is booming with a range of technological solutions for the rural world. In the Thiès region, farmers welcome with open arms the digital platform “mlouma”, a technological innovation that facilitates the online sale and purchase of products from different agricultural activities.
Paul Diop is a young Senegalese farmer of legumes, particularly tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. He periodically receives visits from the emissaries of mlouma in his field, located in Mbawane in the Thiès region. “I could have sold my production from the last harvest faster on the internet if mlouma was there long before,” he regrets. In the same village, old Talla Mboup, another farmer, was surprised at the Keur Abdou Ndoye village market not far from Thiès for the sale of his agricultural products.
“I appreciate the technological innovation of mlouma for the rapid sale of agricultural products”, recounts the farmer. The Senegalese primary sector is booming with a range of technological solutions for the rural world. In the Thiès region, farmers welcome with open arms the digital platform “mlouma”, a technological innovation that facilitates the online sale and purchase of products from different agricultural activities.
In isolated areas of Senegal where internet access is a real headache for the populations, ‘mlouma’ can work thanks to the establishment of the USSD service accessible from simple mobile phones to facilitate the use of the virtual market, even without internet connection.
With the USSD service, growers can send the necessary data on their products for sale to the platform, while buyers have access to information on product availability and prices. Once collected, this data will be processed and validated before being published on the mlouma site.
“It is enough for the farmer to dial on his mobile phone # 112 #”, tells the initiator Aboubacar Sidi Sonko, “to then follow the instructions and bear some subscription costs of around 300 CFA francs (less than 50 cents) to find a product or communicate the existence of a product ”.
Through its representatives in the seven regions currently covered, the mlouma application organizes discussion meetings with peasants in order to collect information on their harvests as well as selling prices. At the same time, agricultural producers are made aware of registering for its services online and via mobile phone. In fact, the platform will take care of providing them with real-time information on agricultural market offers and demands.
The start-up mlouma is the initiative of the young Senegalese engineer, Aboubacar, who decided to help the peasants quickly find markets for the products of their crops. Originally from the Casamance region, he himself is the son of a peasant and has the ambition to contribute to agricultural development. It was in May 2011 that Aboubacar embarked on the search for technological innovation for the benefit of the Senegalese agricultural sector. To do this, he joined the CTIC Dakar incubator where he received all the necessary support.
The young computer engineer thus decides to redress an injustice suffered by peasants who had no control over the marketing of agricultural products. With mlouma, no more post-harvest losses and slump.
The site www.mlouma.com offers an interconnection between farmers and potential buyers. It gives an overview of the agricultural products available in each of the production areas and in each market. Farmers can post the products they want to sell there, while potential buyers can book the products they want.
An SMS application accessible to farmers. Thanks to the partnership with Sonatel (Orange), Aboubacar and its staff have developed a mobile application using the USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) service. This application, running on any mobile phone, has been specially designed to promote interaction with the mlouma web platform. Some 500 users were connected to the platform until 2015, but by integrating the USSD system, mlouma is at more than 100,000 users today.
The platform has a service to better respond to the concerns of its potential customers. The members of this service are responsible for providing customers with all possible details on the operation of the start-up.
A call center is then set up to assist, by natural persons, all those who do not have access to mlouma’s services. This helps everyone buy and / or sell agricultural products.
Mlouma is now positioned as one of the leading African providers of web and mobile services dedicated to the agricultural sector and the rural world. Its business model is based on subscriptions to which farmers, producer groups and agro-food industries can subscribe.