Revenue Stream Models for Sustainability Planning
Areas of focus
Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship, Data Use and Governance, Digital Ecosystems, Tools, and IoT, Extension Services, Sustainability
Best Practices and Case Studies
Introduction and Background
The Digital Advisory Support Services for Accelerated Rural Transformation (DAS) Program is a facility funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Development Gateway: an IREX Venture, Tech Change, and JengaLab compose the IFAD-DAS consortium of partners. The goal of the program is to address the gap in digital tools and information access for smallholder farmers through rapid advisory deployments to countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. In late 2022, the IFAD-DAS team worked with the IFAD-funded Sustainable Agricultural Production Programme (SAPP) in Malawi to define potential revenue models for a newly created digital platform.
The SAPP team is embedded in the Department of Agriculture Extension Services (DAES) in the Ministry of Agriculture and supports farmers through SMS messaging of weather alerts and farming updates. Past iterations of this support have used the Esoko platform in partnership with UNDP-mClimes and other partners to reach approximately 78,000 lead farmers. Esoko requires a licence fee in addition to high costs for SMS messaging. In 2021, the DAES decided to end use of Esoko and to develop their own platform (Ulimi ndi Nyengo), which would be owned by the DAES. Currently, the system is free for farmers, and partners pay a fee based on the number of SMS messages that they send using the platform. The intention is to grow Ulimi ndi Nyengo to reach 200,000 farmers. Given the Ulimi ndi Nyengo functionality and the low number of smartphone users, sustainability planning focuses primarily on continued use of the existing SMS platform.
The goal of this document is to provide guidance on revenue models and sustainability planning to the SAPP team. While this guide and models are specific to the SAPP team and the Malawi country context, the considerations and opportunities could provide a starting point for others considering sustainability options.