There’s a new app in the market and it’s going to help farmers digitize their operations. It’s called Peepu.
Anas Sheikh from Karachi has been working on the app for the past year. He explained what the app aims to achieve, how it works and its benefits on SAMAA TV’s programme Naya Din on Friday.
Sheikh said that the app was developed to facilitate farmers. “There is a huge gap between the urban and rural market. This app would ensure that farmers are constantly in communication with the farmer’s markets in the cities,” he said.
The founder explained that after a harvest, whatever the farmer has grown first goes to the farmer’s market and then is distributed to retailers throughout the city who then sell it to the consumers. “In most cases, a farmer never goes to the market for fear of post-harvest food losses [the food losses that happen during the journey to a marketplace]. They, therefore, find a person who can take their harvest to the market and sell them the crop at lower prices,” Sheikh said.
This process makes a farmer vulnerable to exploitation as they earn less than half of what the crop is sold for to the end consumer, he said
“A farmer earns only 40% of the total profit earned from selling the crop.”
Peepu is being developed to prevent the farmer from incurring these losses, Sheikh said. “The app will enable communication between the consumer and the farmer. This would benefit the consumer as well because they can now buy food supplies at lower costs than what they buy at from the retailers.”
The developer also said that the app is user-friendly and functional for a layman. “The farmers can easily download the app and sell their harvest in four steps,” he said.
While talking about other ways Peepu can contribute to the market, Sheikh remarked that on an average 40% food losses occur post-harvest. “On an average, food worth of Rs136 billion is wasted in Pakistan annually. This app will help curb this wastage as well,” he explained.
According to the World Food Programme, Pakistan has become a food surplus country. A 2018 national nutrition survey, however, showed that more than half of the country’s population still faces food insecurity. The survey also showed that 15% of children under five suffer from acute malnutrition and 32% are underweight.
Sheikh emphasised that a farmer is an entrepreneur in the truest sense as he takes the risk of sowing a crop and invests not only his money but also time and hard work in it.
“I believe that all the issues in the world can be solved by farmers to an extent,” he said.