At the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic, there were sudden lockdowns and tight restrictions on movement. Businesses were forced to close, and farmers were left with surplus produce and no market. Many incurred significant losses due to the severe hit that the local market received, but thanks to Robert Kibo Thompson this will be improved. Thompson is the mastermind behind OEXONE, a new technology-driven platform through which Jamaican farmers can connect with and access buyers across the world.
OEXONE which stands for “One Economic Exchange”, allows farmers and buyers to interact virtually. Buyers can outline what they need, and farmers can plant to meet that demand and export the crops immediately after reaping them. The development of OEXONE is a timely one since we are currently in a time period of limited movement and social interaction. That is not the only benefit, the development of OEXONE comes at a time when there is increased digitization and the need for businesses to upscale and move aspects of their operations online. Out of it, all the need for food security was recognized and OEXONE through its platform will contribute significantly to global goals whilst allowing many to capitalize using modern standards. The platform is creating a niche on the international market for Jamaican products. Farmers are now able to utilize technology to earn from a larger market which cannot be outgrown as opposed to our local market.
Approximately 600 farmers are said to have already signed up to utilize OEXONE and more are expected to follow. The OEXONE platform has merged food distribution and technology by utilizing the value chain approach. The value chain approach seamlessly incorporates everything from the flow of products, knowledge, information to capital in order to organize buyers, sellers, and producers. The approach does not only include factors necessary to move products/services/information, but it identifies and mitigates inadequacies in the process.
Additionally, by facilitating diaspora or international trade, e-commerce, and the possibility for investments Jamaica has been positioned to become the Caribbean’s leader in the trade and marketing of agricultural produce. In recent times the idea of food distribution only factored the transporting of goods in a refrigerated truck, but the development of this platform again puts Jamaica steps closer to leapfrogging into another emerging market. OEXONE provides a lens through which Jamaican farmers can watch market patterns and cultivate to meet market demands. Notably, OEXONE highlights the fact that any process can be simplified or even improve by using technology.