Cloud platform launched to boost rural economies

By SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – APPLICATION software leader, SAP, has launched its Rural Sourcing Management solution connecting smallholder farmers and suppliers in rural areas with the supply chain of global agribusinesses and consumer products companies.
An integrated, cloud-based solution running on SAP Cloud, the solution enables agribusinesses as well as consumer products companies to track their produce from the farm to the factory through a combination of mobile and desktop access.
This supports the digitisation and simplification of both producer and farmer operations.
The introduction of SAP Rural Sourcing Management follows the realisation mobile access to business applications provides critical information to producers, enabling them to capture information from small-scale farmers who generally operate in remote areas where other forms of technology might be limited.
Farmers can in turn access their own business transactions, enjoy increased transparency to pricing, utilize mobile instead of cash payments and have added traceability, all aimed at closing the information gap between farmers and producing companies.
Based on available data, 500 million smallholder farmers produce nearly 80 percent of all food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Brett Parker, Managing Director at SAP Africa, said the new solution was tailor-made to support the growth of smallholder farmers in developing nations and meet the world’s need for sustainable food production.
He pointed out by 2050, the world’s population would approach 10 billion people.
“To sustain such a large global population, the planet’s agriculture output per acre must double while at the same time maintaining the highest sustainability standards to meet consumer demand,” Parker said.
The executive added, fair trade sales are expected to triple to US$25 billion by 2020, creating a huge challenge for governments, retailers and large multinational food producers.
In December 2016, a strategic alliance was announced between the Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), and several private sector partners – including SAP – working together to strengthen smallholder agricultural businesses in Uganda.
The strategic alliance is based on previous successful partnerships between SAP and GIZ starting in 2009 with the African Cashew Initiative, which aimed to improve farmer incomes and livelihoods, advance African cashew nut quality and production, increase local processing capacity and improve market linkages along the value chain.

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