Tradenet: farmers using SMS to make business in Africa

While doing my blogroll I was attracted by this news on Africans farmers using SMSs to make business. Tradenet, is a website developed in Ghana with an 11 million-dollar USAID support. It is intended to enhance trans-border trade between farmers and traders in Africa. The services are completely free for users, except the normal sms messaging charges by the mobile phone service providers of each country.

The site is  a platform for sellers in agricultural business to display their profiles and information on their commodities, prices and locations on the Internet, with the view to attracting potential buyers through the net. It also offers individuals and traders associations the opportunity to establish their own website within the tradenet platform at no cost to constantly display their commodities and prices.

“Potential buyers looking for a specific commodity only need to compose SMS message on their mobile phones stating the code of the commodity in question and the country from which they want the results and send it to tradenet number ‘1344’ for Areeba users or 024649999 from any other network and get instant results.”


Why SMS? This is a nice example of a service implementation that uses existing communication channels and infrastructure. The use of mobiles is pervasive and how explained by Jan Chipchase last week, the recent growth on the mobile market is coming from underdeveloped countries.

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