China’s South-South Cooperation Helps WFP Improve Mobile App that Links Zambian Smallholder Farmers to Markets

October 13, 2021
Lusaka: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a contribution from China through a South-South and triangular cooperation COVID-19 opportunity fund. The contribution will be used to enhance the user experience of the Virtual Farmers Market mobile-based e-commerce application, known locally as Maano. The app, which virtually links farmers to buyers when downloaded to a mobile device, will be enhanced to provide smallholder farmers with vital agriculture support and rural e-commerce services, such as commodity transportation, insurance and market information.

“We look forward to working with China through this South-South cooperation and learning from their experience in building digital platforms to modernize agriculture,” said Jayoung Lee, WFP Deputy Country Director. “Digital agricultural technologies like Maano are crucial to reducing losses associated with inefficient market systems, resulting in improved incomes for smallholder farmers.”

South-South cooperation refers to the technical cooperation among developing countries in the Global South. It is a tool used by the states, international organizations, academics, civil society and the private sector to collaborate and share knowledge, skills and successful initiatives in specific areas such as agricultural development, human rights, urbanization, health, climate change etc.

The contribution comes at a critical time when digital solutions offer a safe and sustainable way for smallholder farmers to continue accessing markets during the COVID-19 pandemic. The enhanced app will allow farmers to sell their crops and access market information and services from the safety of their homes.

In Zambia, WFP is working with the Government to help over 100,000 farmers tap into larger and more diverse markets, ensuring local produce reaches consumers and promoting access to nutritious food in a sustainable manner. By the end of 2021, WFP aims to onboard around 5,000 farmers to the Virtual Farmers Market mobile-based e-commerce.

The Virtual Farmers Market can be downloaded using Android/iOS, web and USSD (*277#) channels in Zambia.