There is a growing demand for agricultural produce in Africa, yet smallholder producers struggle to make a living. The majority of small-scale farmers work in unorganised staple food markets, which currently have little or no points of aggregation. They often get exploited by middlemen who give poor farm-gate prices, frequently working together to drive down prices and also tampering with weighing scales. Small-scale farmers experience is that no-one is ‘on their side’ when it comes to marketing.

Smallholder farmers are open to new services, as selling raw commodities to middlemen or growing under contract to processors gives them a poor return on an unpredictable basis. Farmers want confidence in a fair market for their produce, an end to late payments and shouldering all the risk. TruTrade’s offer of a better price, more reliable access to markets, payment on collection of their produce and a bonus from value addition creates supplier loyalty.

Farmers benefit from a better price and a more secure market for their produce. They receive a down-payment on collection of their crop and a bonus on sale. TruTrade increases the share of the final product value that goes to farmers by allowing them to retain ownership in their crops as these move up the value chain. From efficiency alone, farmer incomes increase by 10-15%; with value addition from toll processing, this can increase to 20-30% as farmers share in higher value products and the by-products e.g. selling sunflower oil and cake instead of sunflower seeds or posho; selling maize flour and bran rather than just maize.