The adoption of digital marketing by farmers has the capacity to address the challenge of post-harvest losses, which the country has been grappling with for years now.
This is the position of Bellefu.com, an online marketplace, which insists that post-harvest loss is responsible for wiping off as much as half of tomatoes, vegetables, and other perishable crops and fruits.
The marketplace dedicated to agriculture-related activities, ensures that farmers, buyers, and sellers of agricultural products have direct contact with other agro-allied providers and manufacturing industries around the world. It is also designed to make searching for agro products available at fingertips.
The spokesperson of the outfit, Oluwaseun Olukumoro, said some of the losses occur on farms, during harvest, gathering, while others occur in transit, during offloading (due to poor handling), and at other times within the farm to fork transmission.
“It does not end at just perishables, but even commodities such as grains. Post-harvest losses have been estimated to range between five and 20 per cent for grains; 20 per cent for fish and as high as between 50 and 60 per cent for tubers, fruits and vegetables.
“Post-harvest loss is not just a crop thing, it affects even dairy, where if one milks a cow and it is not properly preserved, or processed within three hours, it will go completely bad.”
Olukumoro added that digitisation and easy Internet access have changed the face of farming forever and many in the industry are scrambling to keep up with the new methods available to keep them in touch with their customers.
He said digital marketing in agriculture would eliminate middlemen as farmers can directly contact buyers, wholesalers and dealers, “and this reduces the number of intermediaries, or middlemen in the supply chain. This results in better price realisation, better availability of crops, and less scarcity.
“Farmers can now have greater and wider access to modern farming methods and techniques through online training and webinars. This knowledge will help them increase their productivity. At the same time, if the farmer is provided adequate training, he or she might be able to share this knowledge with a wider audience in several local languages by creating his, or her blog, or website and using social networking services to share such information.”
He said at the long run digital marketing would be beneficial to farmers to reach out and be visible to a broad range of audiences. “At the same time, they may come in contact with suppliers of post-harvest technologies such as transport, storing, and packaging.
“In many cases, farmers have to transport their produce to local markets for them to be able to reach buyers.”
Digital marketing, however, puts the farmer and his produce on a global stage for any prospective buyer/customer to see.