Along Riverside Drive, at the 9Riverside building, I meet Juma Allan, an Android engineer at Twiga foods; he helped Twiga Foods, a mobile supply platform for fruits and vegetables, with an M-PESA API Integration, the Daraja API.
An API is a translator between two business applications. In the case of Twiga foods, API acts as a translator between M-PESA and Twiga Food’s system which enables the two to communicate and interact automatically without any human intervention. For Twiga foods to deploy the M-PESA payments; it only took five minutes to test the integration with the previous APIs such as the G2; it would have taken more than six months of back and forth emails for such an integration to go through.
Twiga foods interact with over 13000 farmers, 5500 vendors, and widespread buyers. They source products such as bananas, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes from both large and small-scale farmers. They then sell the produce to vendors and mama mboga kiosks.
The firm was established in 2014 and has improved Kenya’s agricultural market. It addresses significant economic issues that include spiraling food prices, safety, and sustainable markets.
How has Daraja API made it easy for you to integrate with M-PESA?
“Twiga foods previously run all their businesses manually, it included paying the over 13000 farmers which was via M-PESA this limited their number of transactions according to the M-PESA policy,” said Juma Allan adding that this delayed their payments to farmers which were a huge obstacle for their business.
“Paying to their banks was also cumbersome given their number and the widespread Geographical location, there were so many errors as we had to manually load numbers, verify them and still there were errors,” Juma Allan argues. He further added that Daraja API has really eased business at Twiga Foods as they now run payments directly from their system to Daraja API which pays the farmers and payments reflect instantly.
What is the impact of the API on the customers who use your apps?
The new M-PESA Daraja API enables Twiga Foods to deploy Customer to Business (C2B) and Business to Business (B2B) functionality. This enables the company to make payments of 70,000 shillings and below to a farmer’s M-PESA account, while amounts over 70,000 shillings are paid directly to a farmer’s bank account through the M-PESA B2B APIs on the same platform.
What is the Importance of Daraja API to you as a developer?
“We are able to pay our farmers swiftly with very minimal errors as the human interaction between the systems is nil, errors can only occur in the field while the harvesting scouts input the wrong numbers which are very rare,” says Allan.
“Sales representatives used to calculate daily sales, now, payments reflect daraja API instantly which has really improved the company’s transparency and monitoring of income,” adds Allan.
How can any other developer access the Daraja API?
Daraja API provides you with a link where you create a free account, for a test, and a Demo App to run on a sun box to enable beginners under the API. The link to follow is https://developer.safaricom.co.ke/
What are the gaps that you see in various industries and how can developers like you come in to help?
“For example in a supermarket, where we mostly experience long queues as shoppers wait for their balance while others rush to their phones to Lipa na M-PESA Daraja API could be integrated to prompt customers to only enter their PIN if in agreement to pay the amount,” says Juma Allan. “This would greatly reduce the time it takes to serve one customer and ensure express check out. You can easily build up your business to the next big thing using Daraja API, be it a business, an organization or even that chama!” he concludes.