The distribution of agricultural inputs is often quite difficult in some African countries. It is to address this shortfall that a start-up has emerged in Zambia. eMsika is his name. It wants to help farmers find, buy and receive agricultural inputs in a fast, reliable and convenient way. Another ambition is also to allow these farmers to access markets for their products.
Launched in 2016, eMsika presents itself as a large e-commerce store serving farmers. He managed to list a large number of products, more than 300 in 10 different categories of agricultural inputs.
The startup allows its customers to source inputs and even to contact suppliers in their local language. In just two years, it has grown tremendously. While it was launched with external funds, eMsika now rolls on its own income and continues its expansion outside Zambia, in countries such as Zimbabwe, the DRC, Namibia or Mozambique.
Beyond this success in Zambia and in these close countries, eMsika’s new goal is to spread across the entire continent. In order to achieve this goal, the promoters have successfully established partnerships with leading local businesses and organizations. “We have six suppliers in different agricultural sectors, including livestock, poultry and horticulture, plus a database of 500 farmers and 200,000 affiliates,”says Gilbert Mwale, general manager of the startup.
The ambition remains very large and several parameters come into play to guarantee a better success. That’s why they continue to innovate and make changes to their platform. They have recently introduced mobile commerce features that complement the use of the website. This feature responds to a reality on the ground: the lack of internet in some areas. Without the connection, these customers will continue to benefit from its services.
A call center has also been set up for farmers who want a lot more information on certain products before buying them. For this purpose, those living in remote areas have the same opportunities as those in urban areas to obtain agricultural inputs from suppliers of their choice, as if they were right next door.