Agri experts welcome online marketing platform | Sunday Observer

Agri experts welcome online marketing platform

The online agricultural marketing and trading platform Govipola launched under the ‘Technical Assistance to the Modernisation of Agriculture Program in Sri Lanka’ (TAMAP) funded by the European Union, has been welcomed by agriculture and agri-business experts as a move that will transform agri-business.

Professor of Weed Science, Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Buddhi Marambe said online agricultural marketing/trading platforms presented in easy to handle formats are becoming pivotal in modern day agribusiness all over the world.

Being cognizant of this aspect, Sri Lanka launched the e-agriculture strategy in 2016 to achieve ‘Excellence in adopting e-solutions to transform agriculture for national prosperity’. In line with this strategy, Govipola, an agricultural trading platform in digital format, and an improved market information system has been launched in Sri Lanka.

Govipola, the cloud-based mobile app designed to facilitate direct selling platforms for fruit and vegetable farmers - a move aimed at cutting out middlemen and containing food inflation in Sri Lanka, will run on Microsoft Azure, a collection of cloud-based services for building reliable, scalable and maintainable applications.

The online app supported buyers as well and has helped strengthen the agricultural marketing network. It is in all three languages.

“I am happy to learn, as a member involved in TAMAP, to learn that the project is supporting Govipola managed by a private entity to support agricultural development. It is important that private-public partnership be strengthened further and sustained with an enhanced client base,” Prof. Marambe said. Agri business personnel said it will increase agri based market information and enable close collaboration between buyers and sellers. TAMAP is implemented by the consulting company, Ecorys Nederland BV.

TAMAP has supported the development of an electronic market place in agriculture in line with the Government’s e-agriculture strategy. The platform was launched at the ‘Improved Market Information System for Agriculture in Sri Lanka’ workshop at the Mövenpick Hotel recently.

Developed by Croptronix, a Sri Lankan company, Govipola began as an online want-board, a place where people post their text-based buy and sell offers similar to the way newspaper ads work.

Today the app, with over 15,000 generic downloads across the country, helps farmers to market their goods on a digital platform with easy access to real time market data. The app also offers convenience to buyers by providing options such as search filtering and notifications, and thereby shortening the process of finding goods.

As part of its continuous development process, the app is now ready to offer a match making engine allowing suppliers to easily connect with interested buyers. The interaction with a potential trading partner may happen via the app or a direct call using the call-to-action button embedded in the system. With this simple approach the app links the farmer directly to an exporter, trader or a consumer. The order-matching feature allows the user to get his or her listing directly matched with a corresponding order without the need to perform a lengthy search and read through all the posts placed on the marketplace. Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Sri Lanka, Frank Hess said, “Worldwide there is interest in developing agricultural marketplaces online with the aim of helping farmers to connect more directly to markets in real time and help them make better deals.”

- LF