Quincewood Group Limited is a technology company founded by entrepreneur Fatma Fernandes in Tanzania. The business is focused on the agricultural sector, developing innovations that aim to improve the livelihoods of farmers and even the playing field across the journey from farmer to table. The products developed are done with sustainability in mind. It’s latest innovation, eHakiki, is positively impacting thousands of lives in Tanzania’s largest economic sector, agriculture. Its main aim is to ensure that smallholder farmer’s incomes are protected.
eHakiki does this by using technology to reimagine agriculture in Tanzania. eHakiki is providing accessible, scalable solutions for smallholder farmers. It enables farmers to verify the authenticity of their inputs by revealing a scratch code on purchased packages and dialing a toll-free USSD number by normal mobile phone for immediate feedback. If the code is not genuine, farmers can return the product for a refund; and the service compiles geographic and other data on counterfeit products for communication to government stakeholders.
Managing an efficient and dependable verification system is complex, particularly in contexts like Tanzania, where 40%-50% of farm inputs are adulterated and population density is uneven across wide areas. The Ministry of Agriculture’s Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) needed to see evidence that Quincewood’s e-verification worked efficiently, effectively and at scale before paying for the service. Quincewood was not alone in the market, but as a Tanzanian company, we knew the market and stakeholders well. AGRA with the support of Mastercard Foundation provided grants complemented by Quincewood’s own investment to demonstrate the viability of the e-verification system. The universal availability of the system, in which non-smartphone users can access the service through a method that is similar to the mobile money short codes and mobile airtime voucher system that they are already used to. This platform was launched in August 2020 to be used across Tanzania by all farmers purchasing inputs in the country and was officially coined as T-Hakiki.
Speaking about the aspirations for this impact driven technology and verification platform, Quincewood founder, Fatma Fernandes, said: “We would like to reach 2,000,000 farmers by 2022. We want this product to be seen as the de-facto solution across a myriad of industries that are plagued by counterfeit goods, that have the potential to put millions of Tanzanians at risk to their health. The biggest industries being the pharmaceutical and beverage industries. We would also like to take this solution across Africa – especially East Africa by 2022.”
T-Hakiki which is powered by Quincewood’s eHakiki technology is the first-ever government-backed verification platform to be used nationwide and to be adopted by the regulator Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI). The e-verification system complements the government’s in-person inspection to decrease fraud, improve farm production, increase farmer income and reinforce trust in and sustainability of agro-input suppliers. Though only in its first year of formal operation, the platform T-Hakiki is poised to revolutionize farm input certification in Tanzania and potentially other African countries.