Online Zimbabwean Auction Website Raises US $3m

Remote Livestock Marketing System (RLMS) a Start-up local agro company,has done transactions worth US$3 million this year through its online livestock marketing platform, a company official has said.

The company which runs an online livestock auction created 18 months ago announced that it had achieved bottom-line success since pilot launch.

RLMS founder Mr Allister Banks said”the platform has managed to record maximum profits despite the liquidity crunch that the country has been facing” in an interview with Herald.

The online system is a catalogue based website where RLMS agents upload pictures of livestock together with critical data such as weight and age and in-turn buyers bid for the livestock on offer.

Mr Banks said the project is set to benefit all agricultural sectors ranging from A1 to commercial farmers in a bid to link the buyers in the diaspora and the local farmers.

“For the past 18 months the company has sold livestock valued at more than US$3 million with US$250 000 or 7 percent of that coming from the Diaspora,”he said.

Mr Banks said “over the years I’ve seen that the live auction can be a lottery as far as prices go. The losses of weight and costs of transport to and from the sale pens are significant, especially for smaller players in the livestock industry and so with the recent proliferation of new small scale farmers in Zimbabwe, this issue is even more pertinent.”

He added that 67 percent of livestock successfully assessed on the site is from small holder farmers and the service is looking to benefit 3 530 families in the coming five to six years.

“RLMS gets a commission on each livestock sold through their system and through trained agents, also offers physicals livestock assessments on behalf of clients to support the online side of things. Therefore since we started the online version of purchasing we have managed to contribute in creating employment as well as introducing technology to agriculture,” he said.

RLMS pitched and won the ZOL start-up challenge in 2012 and has successfully raised additional funding to improve.
The online marketing company is planning to cover the whole nation in the next five years and so far it has put 30 mobile livestock assessing agents.

“We want to cover all provinces, introducing this initiative of online livestock purchasing and we have injected a lot of capital to make sure the project reaches everyone in Zimbabwe,” he added.

He said it has not been an easy project to set-up and much tweaking has taken place to push out a system that can handle the many variables and challenges associated with remote and small-scale livestock producers.

RLMS was founded by Mr Allister Banks and it is the country’s first online marketing system for livestock that allows buyers from all over the world to log on, identify the animals they wish to purchase, conduct the sale and have them delivered to them anywhere in Zimbabwe.
RLMS has already seen significant success with over 3 000 animals sold and different buyers coming from as far as Sweden and Ireland.

Marvelous Chibagidhi

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