Through the Digifarm platform, Safaricom is seeking to link farmers to farm input suppliers while offering financial solutions in a bid to push smallholder farmers into agribusiness.
Safaricom has opened the first Digifarm depot in Uasin Gishu County that will offer access to seeds, fertilizers, animal feeds and agricultural chemicals.
Speaking during the launch of the depot, Safaricom head of rift region Victor Ngumo said there was an urgent need to commercialize farming in Kenya, with the firm offering the financial and technical support to farmers.
“We just want to make the small scale farming viable. We know that farming currently employs 60 percent of the population but delivers just 30 percent of GDP. We believe that the small scale farmer will see some huge returns,” Mr Ngumo said.
Digifarm is an integrated mobile platform that offers farmers access to a variety of services including discounted inputs and advice on input use, financing, and information on crops and animals.
Since its launch in 2017, it has registered over 672,000 farmers and disbursed over 7,000 loans through a mobile phone loan module that gives farmers access to financing for the purchase of farming inputs.
Safaricom mAgribusiness Manager Elizabeth Mudogo said Safaricom had structured its loan facilities to fit famers’ repayment abilities.
“We will give you a voucher that you present to the iProcure store which they redeem and you are able to pick the produce that you want. We have made the repayment flexible enough for the farmer to be comfortable in paying,” Ms Mudogo said.
The depot will act as a source of vital data for the county government, which will be able to use this information for planning and resource allocation as well as enabling agricultural extension officers to reach more farmers.