Esoko started in 2007 as an experiment to see how the emergence of mobile technology in Africa, could improve the lives of rural communities across the continent. The first project enabled the delivery of market prices via SMS, in support of work that FoodNet was doing with MTN in Uganda. In addition, Esoko set up a call centre to support local languages and address issues with literacy. Over time they realized farmers needed much more than price information, and added weather alerts, crop advice, and linking buyers with sellers. Various research finds such services can improve incomes for farmers by roughly 10%.
The company then leveraged its technical platform and field force for the collection of information, mostly using tablet devices and smartphones; this service is now Insyt. Today, Esoko provides smallholders with access to inputs and finance through Fasiba, their virtual marketplace, while driving business for input dealers and financial service providers. Esoko has evolved over the years but remains committed to improving income for rural communities by empowering them – and the businesses that serve them – through mobile technology.