Virtual Collection Center Application: A Cooperative Marketing Platform for Goats
by Gopal Bhusal
Goat farming is one of the important sources of cash generation for smallholder farmers and plays a crucial role in the economy of Nepal. However, the farmers face various challenges in marketing of the live goats. The cooperatives supported by Heifer have been practicing collective marketing approach of live goats but still lacked proper coordination between the collector and farmers. To make the collective marketing of live goats more organized and manageable, 11 cooperatives were selected for the piloting of the Virtual Collection Center (VCC) application.
Targeting the festive season (October-November) and wedding season (November- December), managers of the 11 cooperatives’ along with 61 goat inventory collectors (also members of the cooperatives) were trained on using the app. The data of total 3,529 live goats were recorded out of which 2,741 goats were sold via the App. The app records data from the farmers, their Self-Help Groups and Cooperatives. The data includes inventory of sellable goats as per their weight and size, date and time of the sales event, the ongoing rate, status of sales, information about the traders, daily revenue generated and so on.
Ms. Krishna Maya Pandey, Manager of Upahar Social Entrepreneur Women Cooperative Limited, Palpa shared, “Initially, I had doubts about the app, I wasn’t convinced, but once I started to use it myself, I found it very helpful and effective in organizing and managing sales.” Manager from all the cooperatives agreeed in unison that dealing with traders had been simplified because of the app, as they had exact data on the number of sellable goats. The agritransport vehicle here too has been instrumental in transporting the live goats from the farmers homes to the collection center/sales event.
Customizeable according to the need and requirement of the user, the app sends automated text messages to farmers informing them about the sales event in their area. This is a significant improvement from the previous practise of informing the self-help group individually which was time consuming and inefficient.
The implementation of the VCC application not only simplifies the process of marketing live goats, making it more organized and manageable, but also acts as a substantial incentive for smallholder farmers to continue with goat farming, ensuring a stable income. This contributes to economic growth, food security, and sustainable agriculture. The app enhances market access, promotes financial transparency, facilitates information sharing, and empowers farmers to make informed decisions, ultimately improving the sustainability and profitability of their agricultural endeavor.