What are farmers doing online?
In markets like Kenya agricultural buying and selling patterns are rapidly moving towards social platforms like Facebook.
Example of digital behaviour on public social forums
Facebook is the most popular online forum for buying and selling produce in Kenya and far outstrips the level of activity on existing agriculture marketplace platforms. There are a number of reasons for Facebook's success in this space with the primary reasons being that it is free to post, people are familiar with how to use it and many already have an account. Importantly large farming Facebook Groups of up to 40,000 members have emerged which provide a ready audience for buying and selling posts.
Number of monthly buying/selling posts in Kenya
This hive of activity stored in public Facebook groups creates new opportunities to see digital patterns of behaviour in the agricultural sector. In Kenya for example, we can compare digital patterns of online trading with country level data sources. There is a strong skew towards fruit and veg when it comes to digital selling patterns. This is likely because fruit and veg is high value, perishable produce that is sold through a very unstructured value chain.
Share of agricultural goods sold in Kenya, total vs. online
Source: Farm.ink analysis
Diving deeper into the online data can give us splits of the fruit and veg sold by item. Traditionally good data on these sorts of patterns is hard to capture, interestingly the rise of social media and digitally active farmers is changing this.
Kenyan fruit and veg sold online (by item, % share of total)