Rwanda’s government is expected to take full control of E-Soko, a mobile-based app that updates farmers on market prices, during the start of the second phase of its development.
E-Soko, which is hosted by MTN Rwanda, will in the second phase offer content in English and Kiswahili in addition to the current Kinyarwanda. It is also hoped that MTN’s monopoly will end, as other telecom firms, including Tigo and Airtel, would be included on the service to serve more users.
According to Wilson Musonera, E-Soko’s systems administrator, the government, through Rwanda Development Board, has asked Voxiva, the US-based firm that developed the platform, to make the necessary changes.
“We are now going to migrate the system from MTN and it will be hosted by the National Data Center; something that is also expected to reduce the costs we have been incurring,” he was quoted as saying by The New Times.
E-Soko, whose content comprise information collated from 62 markets by officials from the agriculture ministry, has been instrumental in enable farmers to “make more informed market pricing decisions and ultimately more successful farming”.
The farmers access the information by sending an SMS to 7656 at a cost of Rwf10.
Musonera said the second phase of E-Soko would see the available in the government server.
“This five-year strategic plan will, among others, give room for advertising products so that producers can have favourable markets of their produce,” he said, as quoted by The New Times.
E-Soko in 2011 won an African award at the third Technology in Government in Africa Awards (TIGA) for its role in providing timely information to farmers.