Q&A with the Winners: Mark Matovu

In this Q&A, Mark Matovu talks about his team’s solution — Mobile-based food supply — which won the BEST OVERALL Concept Sponsored by Connecting the World from the Skies prize in the 2022 Connecting the Unconnected Challenge.

1.Please summarize your winning solution

Image courtesy of Mark Matovu

Nampya Farmers Market is bridging gaps between food and market security through a mobile-based food supply and logistics platform that connects rural smallholder farmers with urban food retailers in a bid to create an efficient, transparent, and formal agri-food marketplace. With our platform that’s not technology-restricted, smallholder farmers can use their simple, basic and feature phones to advertise their produce to the retailers who can also use SMS or a mobile App from the platform and Nampya does the match-making and the physical logistics to link the two sides. Mobile money payments help to collapse time and space between farmers and the retailers.

2.What is the most unique/innovative aspect about your approach?

The most innovative aspect of our solution is Nampya Farmers Market goes back to the basics as we try to re-invent Africa’s approach to Food retail by enabling food businesses to get supplies directly from the farm gate. With our reliable tech-enabled supply chain & logistics solution that is not only able to disrupt the informal food market, but also shift the way informal markets buy & sell fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), Nampya Farmers Market is essentially building a commodities’ marketplace to connect farmers with customers using a business-to-business model. The problem with the supply side (the farmers) is that the farmer does not know the value of their produce prior to selling it. What Nampya wants to do is use mobile technology to fix this and make it more predictable and profitable. Farmers can send SMS to alert Nampya of their produce while the staff in the field make bookings on the produce when it is ready. Nampya then uses this data to create a profile about the value of a certain commodity at a certain point in the future, thereby creating an organized farmers market.

3. What did you enjoy most about the CTU Competition and Summit Program?

Image courtesy of Mark Matovu

I enjoyed listening to distinguished and experienced panelists who gave a feeling that connectivity is a global engine of ensuring equity, shared prosperity, and growth. It drives economic growth; it drives us all. Conversations about 5G and 6G were very fascinating for me to hear already existing when in Africa we still see 4G as a new thing. So, it was nice to converge with such eloquent forks who articulated those concepts for me to have a sense that all corners of the world will be interconnected tomorrow as my take-away from the summit.

4. What are your project plans for the next 12-18 months?

Now able to eliminate leakages while optimizing the agricultural value chain process owing to Mobile Money payments, we are looking towards increasing the number of retail food vendors on our platform by December 2024. We are in a race to get to as many vendors as 2000 with the full goods basket, while we aim to onboard as many as 20,000 farmers. We also look to launch our new service of aiding delivery of relief food to refugees and other vulnerable populations on behalf of humanitarian donors. We intend to expand our platform so that relief food donors can procure relief food directly from farmers and Nampya will deliver it to the beneficiaries or to the donor or the representative.

5. What is your estimate of the number of people impacted by your program?

So far, with 2640 farmers permanently enrolled on our platform while each farmer has an average of 3 dependents, the total number of beneficiaries impacted by our program on the farmer side is 10,560 people. 

On the market side where we currently work with 310 retailers and each retailer has an average of 2 dependents, the total number of beneficiaries is 930. 

Image courtesy of Mark Matovu

According to our survey, we have learnt that each retailer is selling fresh food at a reduced price (thanks to our disintermediation platform) to an average of 20 households with an average of 3 members. This implies, 18,600 lives (310 X 20 X 3) are impacted by our program on the consumer level.

Thus, generally to-date, with a team of 22 members working on the program, Nampya can tell that its program has impacted a total of 30,112 people (10,560 + 930 + 18600 + 22).

6. Anything else you would like to share

Nampya Farmers Market was very glad to be recognized with a Proof-of-Concept Award as it was a shot in our arm for us to improve on our logistics operations system by way of digitization to link drivers to farmers and the food vendors. We are still looking for $42,000 to top up the necessary services budget needed to complete the development of the application which we strongly believe will be a key asset in our aspirations to expand to neighboring countries. A big round of applause from Nampya Farmers Market to our sponsor “Connecting the World from the Skies.” Thank you so much.