|Title||DrumNet: providing support services to Kenyan smallholder farmers|
|Content Language||English (en)|
|Type of Multimedia||Video Clip (eg. AVI, MOV)|
|Date Of Publication||2006|
DrumNet, a project implemented by Pride Africa, aims to offer support services to smallholder farmers who often operate their businesses without access to information, financial services or markets. Launched in 2002, the DrumNet project is designed to bridge this gap using information technology, efficient business processes and economies of scale. The pilot phase is currently operating in Kirinyaga and Meru in Kenya, but it is envisaged that DrumNet will grow to become a broad network of support centres for small-holder agricultural producers throughout East Africa.
This film describes how DrumNet is helping to improve the ability of small farmers to operate in a commercial environment. DrumNet's support centres are simple, stand-alone facilities catering to clients who require financial, market and technical information in order to make more profitable transactions. Each support centre is equipped with a computer with a dial-up connection to the Internet and a mobile phone (GSM) to link up with the central hub in Nairobi, which acts as the main server/database and provides an access centre for the storage and retrieval of information. Each support centre is managed by an Agent, usually a member of the local community, who collects and disseminates information, assists in forming farmer groups, and arranges buy and sell deals.
Typically DrumNet agents help farmers to form marketing groups and then they ensure that the group members have sufficient technical information to take decisions about which crops to grow and how to produce and pack them for sale. DrumNet then acts as a broker, taking care of many interactions between the farmers and corporate buyers, and building trust and confidence between the parties. They help to organise transport and set up appropriate supply chain finance mechanisms which are operated by input suppliers with DrumNet facilitation. The DrumNet support centres keep records of market trends and can supply price information to producers vis SMS text messages to mobile phones.
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