Case study

Improving Market Access for Smallholder Farmers in Zambia


The World Food Programme created an app, Maano, which aims to connect rural farmers in Zambia with market data and buyers. They used Collect, our mobile data collection platform, to monitor and evaluate the impact of this pilot.


World Food Programme




Four districts across Zambia (Mumbwa, Monze, Mazabuka, Pemba)


"lead farmers" using Collect


"follower farmers" surveyed


field surveys conducted


data points collected

The Problem

Assessing an app to lift Zambia's smallholder farmers from poverty

Across Africa, millions of rural smalholder farmers are stuck in poverty. Because rural agricultural markets are decentralized and farmers don't have access to real-time market information, they are forced to sell their crops to local middlemen for low prices. This information asymmetry prevents farmers from scaling their businesses and increasing their income.

To solve this, the World Food Programme launched the Maano - Virtual Farmer's Market app. By giving real-time information on crop prices and connecting farmers to buyers, the Maano app aims to create a transparent and sustainable marketplace where farmers have more bargaining power and can finally get fair prices. WFP piloted Maano in 4 districts across Zambia to track and assess its impact.

I think Collect is really useful in getting information when we are running pilot projects. It is a quicker and easier way to collect data, and it is quite easy to use. The offline feature is especially impressive, especially when it comes to working in developing countries.

Jayadeep Akkireddy
Jayadeep Akkireddy

Innovator and Co-Founder of Virtual Farmers' Market (Maano) App

World Food Programme

The Solution

Collecting diverse data to connect the dots between buyers, farmers, and the app

During their pilot, the World Food Programme used Collect (our mobile data collection platform) to monitor and evaluate the impact of the Maano app.

By equipping 50 "lead farmers" with Collect, the pilot successfully measured transactions between the lead farmers and the final buyers. At the same time, Collect was also used to collect economic and social data on "follower farmers" — farmers connected to the virtual market through their transactions with the lead farmers.

By uniting data from a range of surveys implemented through Collect onto a single platform, WFP was able to connect the dots between buyers, lead farmers and follower farmers, to accurately assess the impact of their pilot program.

20 question types
No code, no hassle
Create data validations
Add skip logic
  • With everything from simple subjective questions to complex tabular questions, collecting comprehensive data was no problem.

  • Our simple web dashboard made creating a form as easy as writing an email. Admins could build a custom survey in no time.

  • Admins could set rules on numerical questions, geographic boundaries on GPS points, selection limits for multiple choice questions, and more.

  • Layers of skip logic made each form quicker and easier. Admins can choose to link together multiple questions, or even link entire forms.

Learn more

Using Collect’s software, we are able to gather data from rural smallholders farmers who have never provided data before. What’s more, the data they are providing is highly detailed, granular, real-time and geo-specific. We’re using the insights it provides to adapt the project’s design to ensure Maano is helping the most vulnerable farmers in these communities.

Evin Joyce
Evin Joyce

Maano Co-Creator and Manager

World Food Programme
No internet required
Optimized for low-tech users
Monitoring every farmer
Works on low-cost Android phones
  • WFP's lead farmers often didn't have internet access. As they collected data, it was saved in local storage, then synced with central servers when internet became available.

  • WFP's surveyors are farmers from rural Zambia, so sometimes they are not very tech savvy. Collect’s intuitive interface ensures that no one has a problem collecting data.

  • Monitoring made it easy to track data for different farmers. They just selected each farmer from Collect’s repository, then updated his or her data.

  • In rural Zambia, farmers didn't necessarily have access to high-end phones. Collect works seamlessly even on outdated, cheap Android phones.

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The Results

Powering $47,000 worth of transactions

The pilot enabled 50 lead farmers and nearly 1200 follower farmers to successfully close 100 transactions through the app, trading 150 metric tonnes of pulses at a total value of $47,000.

Armed with these encouraging stats, based on data collected through Collect, WFP aims to now expand the project to reach 500 lead farmers and 25,000 follower farmers.

When analysing big data, one of the major setbacks is data sorting time. I am particularly impressed with how much Collect reduces data sorting time with its data download options. The data is already sorted, ready for analysis.

Emelly Zandonda
Emelly Zandonda

Maano Data Analyst

World Food Programme

Source real-time data from the ground up with Collect.

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Keep Reading

Want more information? Check out Maano's 2017 Year 1 pilot project report.

Read more