Telecoms, multi-technology and media group Econet Wireless has today launched a smart farming service called EcoFarmer Club, a platform designed to modernize farming methods across the country.
The Club offers farmers access to a rich bundle of services which include agricultural commodity prices, valuable farming tips, relevant local weather information and a mobile trading platform which links farmers to buyers.
Speaking at the launch of the EcoFarmer Club in Harare today, Econet CEO Douglas Mboweni said the launch of the EcoFarmer Club in an agro-based economy demonstrated the company’s quest to offer relevant products and services that meet the needs of ordinary Zimbabweans where they are.
“We are excited to launch this service that will serve millions of farmers and consumers of farming services throughout our country,” Mboweni said.
“We always pride ourselves in our ability to use technology to address the needs of ordinary people. The EcoFarmer Club is an example of one such product,” added the Econet CEO.
The company has led the digital and fintech revolution that has transformed the way Zimbabweans from all walks of life transact and do business through its integrated EcoCash mobile money platform.
Douglas Mboweni further explained that the EcoFarmer Club would come with a transactional personalized EcoFarmer Club Card, which entitles farmers to discounts on vital farming inputs and implements from approved suppliers.
The card is linked to a bank account and can transact on ZimSwitch. Farmers will also be able to link their bank account with their EcoCash wallet, thus enabling bank to wallet transactions, and vice versa.
Mboweni added that Econet’s aim was to create shared value by providing a platform to connect millions of farmers directly with buyers, as well as offering them the convenience to check market prices from municipal markets throughout the country, along with the ability to check current weather updates in their registered farming locations.
“Besides having a virtual ‘exchange’ where farmers directly connect to buyers of their produce, EcoFarmer Club members will be able to purchase farming inputs at a much lower cost and great convenience”, Mboweni added.
Speaking at the same event, Econet Chief Operating Officer Mr Fayaz King paid tribute to the several organizations that had partnered Econet to deliver EcoFarmer Club to the farming community.
He added that EcoFarmer Club members would have the convenience of being able to access farming inputs at selected outlets throughout the country.
“EcoFarmer Club members will be able to access seed, fertilizers, agrochemicals, stock feeds, animal health products, farming implements and inputs from selected agro-businesses – such as seed companies, fertilizer companies, poultry suppliers, as well as crop and livestock outlets – at special, discounted prices,” Fayaz King said.
He said approved outlets included Windmill, Agricura, Tanaka Power, Agriseeds, Farm Shop, National Tested Seeds, Graniteside Hardware, Seedridge and Arda Seeds.
The EcoFarmer Club card would also give farmers access to special farming events, over and above access to exclusive products, such as an exclusive Steward Health Farmers package, Mr King said.
He said the EcoFarmer service, which was originally introduced to the market in 2013, already boasted over one million registered customers on its platform.
The company’s Head of Agri-business Ms Caroline Mozhendi described the product in detail, saying that for existing, registered EcoFarmer customers to subscribe to the EcoFarmer Club, they needed to “subscribe” to the EcoFarmer Club, and enjoy all the benefits of the Club.
For an entirely new customer, to register to the Club, one would first need to be a registered EcoCash user. Thereafter they would simply dial *144#, to register for EcoFarmer, and select the EcoFarmer Club on the menu to subscribe and enjoy the Club’s benefits.