TechnoServe is an international nonprofit organization that promotes business solutions to poverty in the developing world by linking people to information, capital and markets. Operating in 30 countries worldwide, TechnoServe's mission is to work with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries. With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the “Coffee Initiative” will empower 180,000 East African farmers over four years to improve the quality of their coffee and bring prosperity to their communities. As part of the Coffee Initiative, TechnoServe has helped establish 123 cooperative-owned wet mills, creating opportunities for 95,483 smallholder farmers to boost their incomes by improving quality, productivity and business practices.


  • TechnoServe through its Coffee Initiative in Ethiopia is currently working with around 90 wet mills in the country. To assist in reaching their stakeholders, TechnoServe employs business advisors who monitor and report on the performance of each wet mill including the price that wet mills pay for cherry, the profit received by the wet mills after their coffee is sold, and the dividends paid to farmers.

Our Solution

  • Apposit pioneered an IVR and SMS mobile data collection system that is being used by farmers to register in the program and also to record cherry collection volumes, operating costs and wet mill performance indicators.
  • The hosted Monitoring and Evaluation system allows field agents to report daily on cherry volumes and weekly on more detailed reports by submitting reports via SMS and IVR. Data also includes direct deliveries by farmers as well as farmer registration in the field
  • The system is designed to ensure data quality by providing complex validation of data and sending out reminders if data is not submitted. The system also provides a web based reporting and administration portal for executive management. The system allows TNS to gather data remotely from anywhere within mobile coverage areas and report on information in real-time.

The Results

  • Around 90,000 farmers across Ethiopia have registered in the system
  • Capacity utilization (volume) is monitored for the sustainability of wet mills and to check whether they are operating at peak capacity, i.e., maximum volumes
  • Quality (export price) is monitored to find whether wet mills are producing the best quality coffee and are receiving the highest FOB prices
  • Cherry volumes, working capital from cooperatives and operating expenses available in the system are used to generate various reports on wet mill performance, cherry collection trends and a variety of M&E indicators.
  • The outcome of the pilot was that transparency was increased in the business thus increasing the confidence of farmers and wet mills in receiving a fair price for cherry.