More market linkages for South African smallholders

06 December 2019

Getting their produce to buyers remains a huge challenge for smallholders. Selling more quality fruit and vegetables would not only increase their incomes, it would reduce food waste through spoilage. Could digital tools provide a solution? Trading platform HelloChoice is providing exciting opportunites in South Africa.

Solidaridad is working with digital trading platform HelloChoice as part of the Farmer2Market project. Funded by the European Union, this project helps smallholder farmers gain access to high-value markets by digitizing their fresh produce, giving them an easy way to sell their produce straight off the farm.

A HelloChoice participant in front of her field of harvest-ready cabbages

HelloChoice links horticulture farmers and buyers through an open and transparent market and price discovery tool. Buyers and sellers have the opportunity to be a part of a community of people interested in true value and streamlined transactions for both parties.

The platform has a great appeal to smallholders in the Farmer2market programme because it helps to ensure:  

  • access to a wider market
  • produce arrives on retailers' shelves faster 
  • better prices for sellers because produce is fresher 
  • reduced overheads for sellers as middlemen are cut out

Jaco Crawford of HelloChoice, inspecting a crop of tomatoes

Dutch NGO ICCO and the South African LIMA foundation are supporting smallholders on the Farmer2Market project as they adopt the platform, with farmers being trained for certification in good agricultural practices and food safety standards. 

Smallholder farmers have often planted their crops without enough guidance on up-to-date farming practices and planning. As a result, they struggled to sell their produce, leading them to sell it way below market value or even leave it rotting in the field. 

This partnership between HelloChoice and the Farmer2Market programme helps farmers become more sustainable. Higher gate prices mean better cash flows and growth, while ensuring a continuous supply of good-quality produce for consumers.

>Read more about Solidaridad's work in the fruit and vegetable supply chain

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