eProd | Management Solutions for Agribusinesses
16 Mar 2022

eProd Solutions Welcomes New COO, Positions for Growth

Scott Lout, eProd's COO
Scott Lout, eProd Solution’s Chief Operating Officer

NAIROBI, Kenya – eProd Solutions, Ltd., provider of innovative supply chain management solutions for agribusiness, last month welcomed Scott Lout to its team as the new Chief Operating Officer (COO). Mr. Lout joins eProd with 25 years of experience in managerial and leadership roles across private and international relief and development sectors, where he has worked extensively in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Sri Lanka and the United States.

“It is exhilarating to be a part of the agriculture and agribusiness boom in Africa, where technology is playing a bigger role to link farmers with global markets,” said Mr. Lout. “This is a big year of expansion for eProd, and our team is ready.”

Prior to joining eProd, Mr. Lout was the Africa Region Director for Food for the Hungry (FH) for four years where he was responsible for eight countries in eastern and southern Africa. Before serving with FH, Mr. Lout spent 15 years with World Vision International in several key leadership roles including the Country Director roles for World Vision DRC and Lesotho, as well as Operations Director role in Sri Lanka. Mr. Lout began his international relief and development career in Mali. Prior to that, he spent seven years in editing and sales roles with US publishing firm, Cooper Marketing Solutions.

eProd has recently updated its structure as it positions for growth and Series A investors expected by end of this year. Co-Founders Mr. Jan Willem Van Casteren and Mrs. Almut Van Casteren continue in their respective roles as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Other key positions, including Chief Technology Officer and Chief Financial Officer are also under recruitment.

“eProd helps agribusiness scale their operations. Similarly, we are finding ourselves in the exciting position to scale our own operations. For seven years, our team has experienced tremendous growth, and eProd is making strategic investments to prepare us for expansion. Adding Scott to our team positions us for our next wave of growth as we secure investors for Series A financing,” said Mr. Van Casteren. “Scott’s experience managing large-scale teams and his experience in strategy and risk management will only improve eProd’s product offering and service to our clients.”

About eProd

eProd Solutions provides such a solution to address supply chain management needs and challenges for agribusinesses, thus better linking small-scale farmers to agribusinesses. eProd’s software offers digitalization of key business functionalities that leads to efficiency, quality control and improved coordination of farmer and field activities. The software is robust, designed to help a small enterprise that might source from only a few hundred farmers to scale into a large agribusiness that might source from hundreds of thousands of farmers. Regardless of the agribusiness farmer extension size, eProd is designed to manage different value chains simultaneously. This includes a solution that operates off-grid – in areas where data networks for internet are weak or non-existent, as in the case where many rural farmers operate.

10 Mar 2022

A software system, not a software!

eProd's Interview with GIZ

What is the story behind eProd?

In 2004, Jan Willem and Almut van Casteren founded the inclusive business Equator Kenya Ltd. They needed a software to manage the data of the large number of smallholder farmers who were selling African Bird’s Eye chilis and paprika for the Oleoresin market to their company. To be allowed to export the products to overseas markets, full traceability was required. They decided to develop the necessary software themselves by contracting developers, a procedure which finally resulted in an innovative software product that was fully adopted to the needs of Equator Kenya Ltd. Today, the software manages the data of 8,000 smallholders contracted by the company. They are organized in 350 groups, receive loans, input, and training, and supply their produce to the company.

 

How does eProd work?

Seeing the benefit of the software for their business, Jan Willem and Almut van Casteren decided to commercialize it. In 2014, eProd was piloted successfully for various sectors and business models. Today, it offers functionalities for contracting, traceability, communication, mobile payments as well as access to loans. Moreover, eProd offers various specific solutions such as yield forecasting models, credit rating, soil testing, reporting, analytics, and quality-based payments for milk collection (including sensor technology for quality control). eProd collects information about fields, farmers, cooperatives, traders, as well as NGOs and allows all kinds of hierarchical combinations. For donors and NGOs, eProd offers a monitoring dashboard where data can be analyzed and charted.

eProd is an off-the-shelf product, which can be deployed by configurations (rather than requiring customizations) and be fully operational for the client within five days. It offers numerous application programming interfaces which allow its flexible configuration, integration, and extension for various purposes and value chains. The software is available in a cloud version and a desktop/LAN solution that can function perfectly offline for areas with very poor internet. The mobile app is developed for Android, also functions offline and synchronizes with the central database when the internet is available. The cloud version allows global access via the World Wide Web.

 

What is the business model behind eProd?

Since March 2015, eProd is commercially available through the Kenyan-based company eProd Solutions Ltd. The Kenyan company has subsidiary companies in Tanzania and in Uganda as well as an agency network across Africa. The software is used by 75 clients in 12 developing countries and reaches over 250,000 smallholders, active in over 20 different value chains, including dairy, apiculture, fishpond farming, grains, pulses, oil crops, nuts, coffee, and horticulture. Moreover, it would be a small step to make the software usable for other livestock value chains. It is available in nine different languages and more can easily be added. According to Jan Willem Van Casteren, the success of eProd lies in the fact that it was designed as an integral part of a contract farming scheme, and over the years, the needs of all parties were considered and incorporated into the software. The software not only is flexible and configurable, but it also offers programming interfaces for its integration with other systems, such as financial accountability software or ERP for the food processing industry. eProd is successfully working fully commercial but offers various pricing models to make the software affordable for different client groups. An interesting model is a lifetime license where the annual subscription fee is tripled for the first year, while for all following years only 20% of the usual annual fee has to be paid. This model is particularly interesting for donor-financed launches of the software. eProd is also working on a Freemium model, where basic services are offered for free while additional functionalities have to be paid. eProd is scaling the approach through strategic partnerships with development organizations, private partners, and the financial sector. The company is an Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund grantee and collaborates with various development organizations (e.g., DAI, RTI, GIZ) and commercial technical partners (e.g., Where, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Wageningen University and Research Center).

 

Take-away message

“Quality-based payments will be the future in many value chains”, Mr. Van Casteren believes. He highlights the quality-based milk payment system of eProd, which allows fair and transparent automated price adjustments through integrations with sensor technology. “eProd is ideal to promote a market systems development approach. The quality issues are recorded and appear on the payment overview or in an SMS message from the buyer to the producer”, he says. “The system which eProd developed is based on near-infrared spectroscopy and requires only 2–3 seconds to complete its measurements. The sensor is a mobile battery-powered device which seamlessly integrates with the eProd environment”.

 

The interview is featured on the GIZ report about Digitalizing the African Livestock Sector, read the report here.

18 Nov 2020

TIC pour les chaînes des valeur agricoles (French Session)

Click here to watch the presentation

Please join us for: TIC pour les chaînes des valeur agricoles (French Session)

At ICTforAg2020 we explore tools, initiatives, and technologies that make resilience a reality. eProd will present during the TIC pour les chaînes des valeur agricoles, a French session on agricultural value chains.

Speaker: Almut van Casteren

Date: 18th November, 05:45 PM EAT

Use this link to join the stream: Click here to join the stream

Use this link to register: Click here to register

Watch the presentation here: Click here to watch the presentation

28 Dec 2019

eProd Solutions amongst the 16 start-ups selected by the IMPULSE program

IMPULSE, the startup acceleration program developed by Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), has announced the list of startups selected following the call for applications launched last June. The call for applications ended on the first day of October 2019 with over 350 applications received from more than 40 countries.

After a careful and robust multi-criterium selection process, the first 16 ranked applications have been selected based on a meritocratic only approach. These startups, representing nine different countries and three continents, with a strong African representation, propose a wide variety of innovative products and services. They all have the potential to reinforce OCP Group capabilities in contributing to the global food security cause. eProd Solutions is amongst the selected 16 start-ups.

The acceleration program will begin on January 15, 2020 and will end on April 8 with a Day Demo. Read more.

 

03 Sep 2019

Uganda eProd Workshop (4th September 2019)

The Royal Netherlands Embassy together with eProd have organized a workshop in kampala with the objective to introduce agricultural partners and other stakeholders to new and innovative “Supply Chain Management software” for the agricultural sector.

Please meet and greet us at the design hub, bugolobi and learn more about some of the latest eProd features.

13 Jun 2019

RwandaAgriShow2019 (19th – 24 June 2019)

The Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has organized the 14th National Agriculture Show that is scheduled to take place from 18th – 26 June 2019 at Mulindi Agricultural Show Grounds, Rwanda.  The theme of the  is “Promoting Competitiveness of Agriculture”.

eProd Solutions Ltd will participate in the 14th edition of Rwanda’s National Agricultural Show from 19th – 24th June 2019.

Please meet and greet us at the EU Village and learn more about some of the latest eProd features:

  1. Milk Quality Based Payment
  2. Farmer Registration on the Mobile App
  3. Field Registration and Standard Implementation
  4. Credit Module to manage harvest advances, input loans and asset finance
  5. Stock Module for integration of brokers and agents into the supply chain

 

25 Apr 2019

ICT4D Conference (April 30 – May 3, 2019)

The 11th Information Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) Conference is scheduled to run from 30th April to 2nd May 2019 at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda.

The 4-day event brings together hundreds of public, private and civil society organizations, eager to share practical insights on applying digital technology to development, humanitarian, and conservation challenges.

The conference brings together over 30 international and local ICT companies comprising of the leading ICT companies, ICT Hubs and Innovators to showcase their latest products and Services.

On the 1st day of the conference, Jan Willem Van Casteren, the Director of eProd Solutions Limited will give a talk at 4pm on the following topics: The importance of an appropriate ERP system and Financial inclusion for smallholder farmers.

05 Sep 2018

eProd is reaching out to new countries

eProd Solutions are reaching out to new countries. It has started its activities in Ethiopia in both Amharic and Tigranya areas. In September 2018, it will start with its first new client in Ghana and add another value chain to the wide range existing already: Cocoa!

05 Jan 2018

eProd Learning Management System

We are happy to announce that we have made a start with the development of an eProd Learning Management System, or LMS. This software application will administer, document, track, report and deliver educational courses or training programs for eProd users. It will help the eProd training team to cost-effectively deliver material to the eProd users, administer tests and other assignments, track student progress, and manage record-keeping. The LMS will be a hybrid of online learning delivery blended with on- and offsite training and back-office support. You will train yourself at your own convenient time and pace and it will help to keep costs down. In addition we have developed new online introduction materials and we invite you to please have a look at them. Watch the Introductory video

 

18 Feb 2017

New Year, New Things

logo_webeProd is in the process of rebranding itself. Expect a new and revamped look! Inspired by our growth and milestones we expect to reach, we are taking on a new look and we hope these new changes will have you as excited as we are. The new eProd identity is an abstract representation of who we serve and how we serve. The solid circles represent the different companies and farmers who use our system whereas the outlined circles represent the business aspect of farming. The movement of these circles represent how data flows and is managed in the agribusiness ecosystem. The logo has a simple yet modern look that represents how our management systems operate.