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Press Release -- October 14th, 2014
Source: Vodafone Group
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Partnership to use mobile phones to boost productivity and incomes of 30,000 Tanzanian farmers

14 October 2014
  • Public-private partnership between Vodafone, USAID and TechnoServe
  • Agribusiness Olam International to use mobile technology to improve farmers’ livelihoods

The Connected Farmer Alliance (CFA), a public-private partnership between Vodafone Group, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and not-for-profit organisation TechnoServe, has today announced its first commercial agreement to use mobile technology to increase the productivity of thousands of low-income, smallholder farmers in Tanzania.

Under the agreement between the CFA, agribusiness Olam International and Vodacom Tanzania*, around 30,000 of Olam’s coffee, cotton and cocoa smallholder farmers in Tanzania will benefit from:

  • farming advice via text message;
  • notifications about upcoming training sessions and events;
  • real-time information about changes in market prices; and
  • the introduction of mobile money transfer using Vodafone’s M-Pesa service in place of cash from December 2014 onwards, giving farmers greater control over their finances and increasing security.

TechnoServe will also provide training for Olam International staff and farmers.

The agreement will lead to increased productivity and revenues for smallholding farmers supplying cash crops to Olam. The creation of a mobile-enabled supply chain will also provide considerable benefits for Olam, including:

  • increased transaction security through the adoption of M-Pesa, reducing cash transportation costs and improving Olam’s ability to monitor and trace transactions;
  • enhanced communications with farmers, strengthening relationships and building greater loyalty; and
  • greater business efficiency as digital systems replace paper-based transactions and records.

Vodafone Group Regional CEO, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific Region Serpil Timuray,said: "Mobile communications offer major opportunities to advance human development – from providing access to education and health information to helping boost productivity in the agriculture sector. In this case, mobile services are being used to enhance farmers’ lives and transform business performance at all points of the agricultural value chain. These partnerships have a powerful effect in helping rural communities develop new skills and grow revenues. Vodafone is committed to using its technology to help improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers around the world.”

Olam Environmental & Social Manager, South and East Africa Jeremy Dufour, said: “Working with the CFA, we can put agriculture expertise, accurate data and payments in to the hands of smallholder farmers in real time and at considerable scale, no matter how remote. This helps to improve yields and farmer livelihoods while our business benefits from smarter operations and lower costs. Ongoing evaluation from the farmers will be fed back in to the programme.”

TechnoServe Vice President Global Development Simon Winter, said: “Seventy-five per cent of the world’s poor live in rural areas, with the vast majority dependent on agriculture for all or part of their incomes. Growth in the agricultural sector, therefore, has been shown to be at least twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors. Tanzania is a model example of this. But unlike in more developed countries, its farmers do not have sophisticated technology and infrastructure to rely on. This programme will help to change that.”

For further information:

Vodafone Group Media Relations

www.vodafone.com/media/contact

Note to Editors

*Vodacom Tanzania is a subsidiary of Vodacom Group, whose majority owner is Vodafone Group.

About Connected Farmer Alliance (CFA)

The Connected Farmer Alliance (CFA) is a public-private partnership that seeks to promote commercially sustainable mobile agriculture solutions and increase productivity and revenues for 500,000 smallholder farmers across Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. The programme also aims to increase revenues for agribusinesses and agricultural value chain service providers.

About Vodafone

Vodafone is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 52 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 30 June 2014, Vodafone had 436 million mobile customers and nine million fixed broadband customers. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone.com

About Vodacom Group

Vodacom is an African mobile communications company providing voice, messaging, data and converged services to around 50 million active customers. From our roots in South Africa, we have grown our operations to include networks in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Lesotho. Vodacom is majority owned by Vodafone, one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies by revenue. We’re listed on the JSE Limited and our head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa. www.vodacom.com

About Olam International Limited

Olam International is a leading agribusiness operating across the value chain, supplying various products across 16 platforms to over 13,800 customers worldwide. From a direct presence in more than 65 countries with sourcing and processing in most major producing countries, Olam has built a global leadership position in many of its businesses. Headquartered in Singapore and listed on the SGX-ST on February 11, 2005, Olam is a component stock in the Straits Times Index (STI), MSCI Singapore Free, S&P Agribusiness Index and the DAXglobal Agribusiness Index. Olam is the only Singapore firm to be named in the 2009, 2010 and 2012 Forbes Asia Fabulous 50, an annual list of 50 big-cap and most profitable firms in the region. It is also the first and only Singapore company to be named in the 2009 lists for the Global Top Companies for Leaders and the Top Companies for Leaders in the Asia Pacific region by Hewitt Associates, the RBL Group and Fortune.

About USAID

The U.S. Agency for International Development is leading the U.S. Government's efforts to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. More information: www.usaid.gov

About TechnoServe

TechnoServe works with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries. We are a nonprofit organization that develops business solutions to poverty by linking people to information, capital and markets. Our work is rooted in the idea that given the opportunity, hardworking men and women in even the poorest places can generate income, jobs and wealth for their families and communities. With more than four decades of proven results, we believe in the power of private enterprise to transform lives. www.technoserve.org

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