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Safaricom Provides Digital Credit to Aid 1000 Maize Farmers in Kenya

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Over 1,000 small-scale maize farmers in Embu County are on the brink of a transformation in their agricultural practices, thanks to an exciting collaboration between Family Bank and DigiFarm.

Through this partnership, farmers in Mbeere North and South sub-counties will gain access to digital credit facilities, which will empower them to acquire agricultural inputs and insurance, ultimately boosting their production.

Innovative Services to Enhance Resilience and Productivity

This initiative primarily targets smallholder farmers with landholdings of up to two acres, and the amount of financing available will be determined by the size of their land and the specific crop cycles.

Beyond monetary support, these farmers will receive a suite of innovative services aimed at enhancing their resilience and productivity. These include agricultural training focusing on sustainable practices, market linkages, and financial literacy.

Past Success of Similar Venture

Stephen Njagi, the Agricultural Officer of Runyenjes Sub-County, expressed his enthusiasm for this program. He pointed out the success of a similar venture run over the last five years, where farmers transitioned from subsistence to commercial farming. This new partnership represents a significant step in their agricultural journey.

Plagued By Low Agricultural Yields

Embu County, classified as an Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) region, is often plagued by low agricultural yields due to factors such as droughts and diseases. This problem was evident in the Economic Survey of 2023, published by the Kenya Bureau of National Statistics, which reported a 6.5% drop in maize production to 34.3 million bags in 2022. Such challenges underscore the need for innovative solutions to bolster the agricultural sector.

Lack of Adequate Funding

Family Bank’s Lead Digital Transformation, Aristarichus Kuria, emphasized that the lack of access to convenient funding has hindered farmers, despite their vulnerability to climate change and market inefficiencies.

He believes that technology adoption and partnerships like this one can be a game-changer for smallholder farmers. The goal is to enhance their financial resilience, reduce costs, and improve profitability.

Building Credit Vouchers to Procure Essential Farm Inputs

Under this partnership, registered farmers can redeem their credit vouchers to procure essential farm inputs from local DigiFarm partner agrovets. Seema Gohil, Director of DigiFarm, highlighted the platform’s commitment to using technology to bridge the financing gap faced by smallholder farmers and promote climate-resilient solutions. Beyond credit facilities, farmers will have access to agronomy advice, insurance coverage, and opportunities to connect with buyers during harvest.

Plans to Support Sorghum Farmers

This collaboration doesn’t stop in Embu County. Family Bank and DigiFarm plan to extend their partnership to support sorghum farmers in Meru County. This forward-looking approach aligns with a program initiated by the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Their objective is to assess the impact of innovative insurance products on increasing finance access for smallholder farmer.

The collaboration between Family Bank and DigiFarm represents a significant step forward in addressing the challenges faced by small-scale maize farmers in Embu County and beyond.

By providing financial support, insurance, and vital services, this partnership is poised to enhance the resilience and productivity of these farmers while also transforming the agricultural sector through technology.

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