Cowsoko, a word coined from ‘cow’ and a Swahili word “soko” meaning ‘market’ is a novel online market for trading in cattle and related quality inputs in Kenya. The first if its kind in East Africa, the platform is a brainchild of a Kenyan entrepreneur who noticed a gap in the supply side-lack of a formal market for cattle and on the demand side- limited information and accessibility of quality cattle. Cattle traded on Cowsoko are bred by quality cattle vendors from their own recorded pedigree and non-pedigree herds. The founder of Cowsoko, a graduate of Animal Science from Egerton University pointed out that Cowsoko is dedicated to empowering dairy farmers to connect with buyers, sellers and service providers anytime anywhere across the world. Noteworthy, is that Cowsoko enables farmers whether small-scale or large-scale, to explore opportunities in dairying and which were hitherto not accessible to them.
However, setting up of Cowsoko has not been without the usual challenges that face star-ups. In particular, the business has struggled with cost of payment integration on the digital platform. The founder of Cowsoko noted that most service providers charge 3-4 % of the sales a situation that delayed plans to accept large payments on the platform. In addition, due to a few number of products traded on the platform, the business is faced with chronic deficit in supply at any one given time, a situation that compromises trust by customers. Lack of a criteria for valuation of dairy cows traded on the platform has also dealt the business a hard blow as customers become subjective in determination of prices. Despite these challenges the entrepreneur expressed confidence in the business noting that it is already serving markets in Rwanda and Uganda.