Esoko is a media platform that vehicles high added value information to farmers.
Esoko provides a communications infrastructure that enables multiple stakeholders to push critical information to small-holder farmers such as market prices, weather information and forecast, advisory services, while also providing the ability to survey farmers to understand their needs and desires.
Esoko is a multi-currency, multi-commodity, multi-market MIS developed for the Internet and mobile channels. On the Internet, Esoko provides pricing and buy/sell information to all users and serves as a platform for organisations that desire a presence on the World Wide Web. On the mobile telephone, Esoko registers members that have requested to receive SMS alerts or voice messages of commodity market prices and offers to buy/sell.
Esoko’s customers can use any mix of the web and mobile apps, original agricultural content, and on-the-ground deployment services for marketing, monitoring and advisory needs. See all offered solutions
Esoko is available in Africa and Mexico.
Esoko has main offices in Kenya and Ghana, and resellers in 8 other countries, including Mexico, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Zimbabwe. Esoko has developed projects in 16 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Congo RDC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Esoko Networks and its reseller network implement the platform.
In Ghana, Esoko has a partnership with Vodafone, Vodafone Farmers’ Club, for a B2C platform.
B2B subscription packages range in price from $500-$11,000 annually; individual subscriptions vary in price based on the country. There is also a fee per SMS sent to the farmers.
In Ghana, under the Vodafone Farmers’ Club program, USD 0.50 to purchase the Farmers Club SIM card and USD 0.50 per month for usage. (USD 0.50 is 2 GHS as of July 2016)
On the Internet, all visitors to the Esoko website, have full access to the published market information, upon free registration.
m-farm in Kenya.
Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Esoko is a B2B communication media for agribusinesses, farmers cooperatives, NGOs and governments that already have farmers in their networks. Farmers and traders who are the intended recipients of Esoko alerts are either registered through farm- or trade-based associations/communities that have acquired Esoko licenses or through Esoko agents in the local marketplaces.
Esoko is a B2C communication media in Ghana through the Farmers’ Club, targeting farmers and people in the farming ecosystem.
Closed source software.
Under the B2B model, users can use the platform by contacting Esoko or local resellers. Additional costs may be incurred for SMS, deployment consulting, training, and support services. Esoko resellers help scale access to the platform and to their deployment expertise.
For farmers in Ghana, subscription by contacting a local Farmers’ Club agent, or by calling 550 for more information. Farmers Club is a special SIM, that costs USD 0.50. Users can get the first month for free. Subscription cost to the service is USD 0.50 per month, which gives access to two packages for 30 days:
– Information, eg. agriculture tips, weather forecast.
– Calls; Calling anybody who has a Farmers’ Club SIM for free, and calling everybody else for far less than on any other network. Also free call center service.
Free subscription on the Internet.
(smartphone ,feature phone, computer, tablet, other [specify])
(2G, 3G, 4G, LTE,…)
(Connection to market, Microsavings, Supply chain information, Education on farming practices, Weather information, etc)
Esoko uses Google Web Toolkit for the front-end development, PostgreSQL as the database and a host of other standard Internet applications and software. Esoko interconnects directly with mobile operators using a number of SMPP protocols, though in cases where there is no direct connection to a mobile operator they interconnect with international SMS gateway operators. (Source)
Esoko allows to send information (SMS, voice calls) and to receive information (surveys).
The application software can be used offline, allowing to enter information in the app while in the field and uploading the information later.
Alerts: Send SMS messages with market information, weather and/or agronomic tips. Schedule…and they will be sent automatically.
– schedule messages by day and hour
– personalize alerts for each farmer
– customize by language, currency and measure
Push: Bulk messaging is a great way to drive sales, source product, launch campaigns, or emphasize best practices. Reach people over SMS or recorded voice messages.
– schedule a series of messages
– save templates and resuse
– take advantage of low SMS rates
Inbox: Open your business or project to client feedback by publishing your own number and tracking the comments and questions that come in.
– track all the messages you receive
– set automatic responses
– let clients subscribe to content or join a groups
Market Place: Link buyers and sellers and farmers to market, study historical data and keep informed of the latest trends.
– watch the markets & commodities that interest you
– create SMS alerts on prices and buyers
– trend prices over time in reports
Surveys: Know your customers or better understand your impact by capturing data with our Android-based survey tool – great on smartphones or tablets.
– build any kind of survey
– assign forms to interviewers and set targets
– confirm interview locations with GPS stamps
– survey offline and upload later
SMS Polls: Trying to track data from the field easily and affordably? Use two-way polls to send out simple questions via SMS and map the answers automatically.
– set up thousands in a poll
– see responses in lists or on maps
– download data for further analysis
Agents: Make managing your field agents easy by assigning forms, targets, rewards and more for their data collection activities.
– agents use SMS, Android or Web to upload
– set targets and incentives to reward performance
– personalize commodity lists for each agent
Knowledge+: Transform how you deliver extension information and technical data by building your own library and pushing it to agent tablets and smartphones in the field.
– easy creation on your desktop
– add video and audio to articles
– update phones and tablets remotely
Support&Training: With ten years of experience and teams throughout Africa, we understand that deployment is the key ingredient for success. Use our teams to help you get there.
– trainings in the field and office
– detailed project plans and milestones
– ongoing assessements and reports
Call Centers: (Ghana & Kenya) Use our call centre for specialized support services targeted to rural communities. This outreach complements impact studies, brand campaigns, and mobile deployments.
– a customized hotline answered with your name
– track all inbound calls; view in reports
– available in 12 local languages
Monitoring & Evaluation: Experienced local teams and technology make Esoko the perfect choice for your M&E needs from baseline surveys in the field to ongoing call centre monitoring and phone surveys.
– field baseline, midline, endline surveys
– supplemental call monitoring in local languages
– in-depth analysis of data and findings
In addition to sending texts, it sends a voice message once a week to farmers in their local languages.
There are national call centers in Ghana and Kenya, available in 12 local languages, to answer farmers’ questions.
Currently in version status 3.0.
Acumen study carried out to assess the impact of Esoko services revealed real improvements in farmer incomes due to services such as Esoko price alerts.
USAID released in December 2015 a survey on Field Training Evaluation from Esoko Call center operators, which highlights:
– 9% income increase by receiving price information;
– The income increase leads to 18% increase in profit margins;
– 200% Return on Investment for the farmers (the rate is higher if indirect benefit on other farmers are considered).
Esoko is tested by users, including Unicef Ghana.
- Nicole Hildebrandt, Yaw Nyarko, Giorgia Romagnoli, Emilia Soldani, Information is power? Impact of an SMS-based Market Information System on Farmers in Ghana. NYU, February 2014.
Field trials and customers’ assessment through satisfaction surveys by SMS and call centers.
Case studies of Esoko are available on their blog.
In November 2010 a survey of 62 farmers in Northern Ghana who have been receiving price alerts for one year confirmed that they have benefited from the service, with an average improvement of 40% on reported deals and revenue. 68% said they would be willing to pay around $1.30 a month, with another 29% suggesting they would consider it, and only 3% saying they would not. The users of the products have been able to make more informed decisions about negotiating better prices, selling farther away, selling as a collective and sending products to Accra on a mass scale.
Customers’ review: “Awal has increased his income by 50% using Esoko to determine at which local market to sell his produce for the highest prices. “I pay five cedis to transport the soy I grow to a nearby market that is paying 20 cedis more per bag than a closer one. That gives me extra money to save, and one day buy my own tractor.” Now Awal can dream.”
Expert advisors have indicated that Esoko design would make it possible to expand the app to features like specific-farm environmental monitoring (sensing/weather stations) or intelligent irrigation/control systems.
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