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Development Challenges, South-South Solutions: April 2010 Issue

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions: April 2010 Issue

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Published by David South
Development Challenges, South-South Solutions is the monthly e-newsletter for the United Nations Development Programme’s South-South Cooperation Unit (http://ssc.undp.org/index.php?id=66). It has been published every month since 2006.

Stories by David South
Design and Layout: UNDP South-South Cooperation Unit
Development Challenges, South-South Solutions is the monthly e-newsletter for the United Nations Development Programme’s South-South Cooperation Unit (http://ssc.undp.org/index.php?id=66). It has been published every month since 2006.

Stories by David South
Design and Layout: UNDP South-South Cooperation Unit

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Published by: David South on Mar 18, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/10/2014

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April 2010 Issue Development Challenges, South-South Solutions
1)
Kenyan Farmer Uses Internet to Boost Potato Farm
The rise of social networking websites(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites)during thepast few years has swept across the internet. The popular Facebook(www.facebook.com)site alone has over 350 million users worldwide. InAfrica, there are more than 67 million people with access to the internet – justover 6 percent of the population(http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats1.htm).And this phenomenon haseven begun to penetrate and influence life in poor places with weak internetinfrastructure. A farmer in Kenya, Zack Matere, has boosted his potato cropby turning to Facebook for help.On his farm in Seregeya near Eldoret, Kenya, Matere used the internet to finda cure for his ailing potato crop.“I cycled 10 kilometres to the local cyber café, Googled (www.google.com)'potato disease,' he told the BBC, "and discovered that ants were eating thepotato stems.“I checked again and found that one of the solutions was to sprinkle wood ashon the crop.”Matere also used the internet to find a buyer for his rescued crop, and hasbeen able to triple the price he gets for tree seedlings he sells.Zack believes he is a bit of pioneer: “I think I am the only farmer in the areawho uses the internet.”He uses his mobile phone to access the internet and it costs him about US0.66 cents a day to do it.This is a lot of money for small-scale farmers so Zack has a plan to tackle thecost. He will share the information he uncovers on the internet with otherfarmers in the community by posting it on local community notice boards.He has noticed some important realities about how people he knows interactwith the mobile web. He has found most people do much more with the Netthan surfing the mobile web alone at home."The internet is quite an individual pursuit. But a notice board is more of agroup thing."So if I post an item on a notice board on potato disease, for example, thecommunity can read it, talk together and come to a decision.”
 
One example of the kind of intelligence Matere is able to glean from theinternet is reports of cartels deceiving farmers by buying potatoes in over-large 130 kg bags instead of 110 kg bags. Matere takes this information andtranslates it into Swahili and posts it on community notice boards.Matere also has to fend off other people looking to use his community’s watersupply, which he has done by photographing interlopers with his mobilephone and then posting the photographs on Facebook.“When they came before, I took photos of what they were doing, posted themon my Facebook page and was able to get assistance," he said.“I got in touch with Forest Action Network (http://www.fankenya.org/)and theycame back to me quickly saying they would help me protect the catchmentarea.”He has also discovered there are more profitable ways to make money forfarmers."There is a lot of money in tree seedlings or bee hives. So if we can get theseyoung people to use the land in an environmentally (friendly) way, they canget even more money than through farming.”“I have 400 Facebook friends and I think some of them can buy the honey.”Matere is philosophical about the future: “I am now seeing the practicality ofthe internet here in rural Kenya. The problem is I am the only one. That is whythe notice board is important. All we need is a bit of relevant information tohelp us.”"Once it is made simpler and is more in the local language with more localcontent, people are going to access the internet here,” he predicts.
LINKS:
1) A blog with news and tips on how to use the social networking tools forbusiness opportunities.
Website:
http://www.socialnetworking-weblog.com/ 2) Four stories on how social networking radically improved businessprospects for some people.
Website:
http://www.bnet.com/2403-13070_23-219914.html3) A Business Week article on the good and bad of social networking forbusiness.
Website:
http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/aug2008/sb2008086_346094.htm4) Txteagle: A service in Kenya that is paying people to do tasks andtranslations with their mobile phones.
Website:
http://txteagle.com/index.html
 
2)
West African Chocolate Success Story
A Ghanaian chocolate company has become a big success in the UnitedKingdom and shown how it is possible to develop and market a high-qualityproduct grown in West Africa. While the chocolate bars are manufactured inthe Netherlands, the cooperative that owns the company initiated the pushinto producing a mass-market chocolate brand - and shares in the profits.The Divine chocolate brand is available in shops and supermarkets acrossBritain and is the product of the Kuapa Kokoo (http://www.kuapakokoo.com/)cocoa farmers cooperative. The Divine brand was launched in the U.K. in1998 as the first Fairtrade (http://www.fairtrade.org.uk)chocolate bar aimed atthe mass market. Previously, most Fairtrade chocolate was made for high-endcustomers.Apart from the chocolate bars, the co-op also sells its cocoa butter to TheBody Shop (http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/_en/_gb/index.aspx),a chain ofnatural beauty retailers.In 1997, at the co-op’s annual general meeting, members decided to create amass-market chocolate bar of their own. Ambitiously, they did not want to justbe a small, niche-market chocolate bar. They wanted to take on the bigbrands. They set up The Day Chocolate Company in 1998 and receivedsupport from a collection of international charities, aid agencies andbusinesses.The Chocolate Company is structured to have two members of the co-op onits board of directors, with one out of four yearly board meetings held inGhana. As shareholders, the farmers also receive a share of the profits ofchocolate sales. Britain's chocolate market is worth £4 billion a year (US $6billion) and the country has hundreds of chocolate brands, making competitionfor customers fierce. The Divine range of chocolate has been designed tomatch U.K. market tastes.Ghana has an excellent reputation for the quality of its cocoa beans and hasbeen growing cocoa since it was first brought to the country from EquatorialGuinea in 1878 by Tetteh Quarshie(http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/people/pop-up.php?ID=128).Kuapa Kokoo’s success story has its origins in responding to the structuraladjustment programmes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_adjustment)which started liberalizing Ghana’s cocoa market in 1993.The lock the government had on selling cocoa to the Cocoa MarketingCompany had been lifted. Now the opportunity was there for others to sell tothe Marketing Company and some farmers decided to form a cooperative,Kuapa Kokoo – “the best of the best”. They wanted to get a better price for thecocoa and to improve working conditions and lives of the pickers.

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