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A new SMS system for Mozambique farmers


16 July 2012

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IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is launching with two Mozambican partners an information texting service for farmers and small business as part of its effort to improve their access to pertinent and timely information so they can improve their operations and grow their business.

Launched on June 30 in partnership with Mozambique's Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) and telecom operator Vodacom, the SMS system will provide farmers and entrepreneurs free and timely information on their business and farming needs.  Mozambique is the second country in the world to employ the SMS feature, which is part of IFC’s SMEToolkit Solution.

The SMS system involves close collaboration between the three parties involved. Through its network of content providers, UEM will gather information on commodity prices, legislation, taxation and other pertinent news for farmers and small businesses in Mozambique. UEM will log the information on IFC’s SMEToolkit website (www.pmenegocios.co.mz), which forwards it as SMS to Vodacom and other participating mobile operators. The telecom companies in turn send the SMS messages to their subscribers.

The SMS system provides farmers and entrepreneurs with information on prices of their products in different markets, and on  the weather and seed choice. Farmers and small businesses can access market information on their mobile phones at no extra cost.  IFC will work closely with UEM and its content providers to ensure quality and accuracy of the information that will be sent to subscribers. 

Orlando Quilambo, Rector head of UEM said “Launching the SMS system with a global telecom operator like Vodacom is a great achievement in the University’s strategy to support businesses by providing them timely information. The system will reach the most remote farmers and business persons, and help improve their lives.”

Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Director for East and Southern Africa, said “In many countries in Africa, small-scale farmers and businessmen do not have access to reliable market information, which prevents them from getting full market value for their products. The SMS system launched by IFC, Vodacom and UEM provides timely information on market trends, which will help farmers and entrepreneurs in Mozambique better price and sell their products, leading to an increase in incomes.”   
The partnership between UEM and IFC dates back to 2010, when the University was selected as the SMEToolkit partner in Mozambique. UEM has since been uploading information to the Mozambican SMEToolkit website, turning it into a one-stop shop for businesses in the country. To date, the site has logged more than 200, 000 SMEs visitors and now has about 3, 400 registered users.

The SME toolkit is a cornerstone of IFC’s strategy to support the growth of smaller businesses in Africa. IFC’s interactive products have helped thousands of entrepreneurs in emerging markets improve their skills and profitability. SME Toolkit can be customized for specific countries and regions.

 
Source : IFC

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