Launched by the private telecommunications company Manobi in 2001, Xam Marsé provides market information about various products to Senegalese farmers, traders, hoteliers, and others through the internet and free, daily telephone SMS/text (short message service) messages. Meaning "know your market" in Wolof, Xam Marsé provides text messages with real-time information on the prices and availability of fruit, vegetables, meat, and poultry in any of Senegal’s markets. Manobi introduced the service to increase access of producers to information that would allow them to make better informed decisions about sales and purchases.
According to Manobi, the service was designed to increase access to strategic information for Senegalese small agricultural and agro-industrial operators. It aims to enable farmers to sell their produce at realistic prices by making it impossible for wholesalers to inflate prices, shortening negotiation time, and decreasing the waste of perishable goods. It also aims to support the livelihoods and improve the safety of Senegalese farmers and fishermen by giving them access to up-to-date market prices, weather reports, and other information services via cell phones.
The service was first offered only via the internet, and subsequently, in 2005, Manobi launched the SMS service. The programme partners cover the cost for the free access to Xam Marsé and of the message transmission. In addition, Manobi offers every producer a working space in the website to manage and organise their list of products according to their needs of the moment.
Recipients receive their daily SMS about their chosen product, but can make additional SMS requests to update prices of their preferred products or to check those of the other products.
Manobi has four employees conducting surveys in Dakar markets. They use pocket computers with a mobile application that enable them to continuously update the Xam Marsé database.
Agriculture, Economic development.
According to Manobi, more than 3,400 producers, middlemen, traders, and hotel keepers participate in the service. Manobi's information system on fruits and vegetables (accessible by Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) data - a global mobile system standard) has enabled the farmers of the Niayes, a market gardening area in the West of Senegal, to increase their sale prices negotiated from their fields or in the markets by over 50% per year. Overall, this brings an annual income of CFA 10 billion from the 7,000 hectares cultivated in the Niayes area, "which can immediately be used by the beneficiaries to take care of their own social and economic development."
The project was initiated by Manobi, in partnership with three local fishing unions, two telecommunications companies (Alcatel and Sonatel), and the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC). "Manobi's clients have increased revenue by 20% after deducting communication costs". The service, tested and launched in 2000 by a Senegal businessman Daniel Annerose, is now backed by Sonatel, the principal national telephone operator.
In conjunction with the Senegalese agribusiness companies, Manobi is now developing a monitoring system for advertisements in the space available in the SMS text messages so as to sponsor the service and continue making it available free of charge.
Senegalese Agricultural Credit Fund, Sonatel, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Senegalese Ministry of Commerce.
Manobi website on November 30 2007 and a press release issued on January 2 2006.