Digifarm is a Safaricom subsidiary that provides smallholders farmers in Kenya with end-to-end value via a technology platform that can be accessed via a mobile phone. Farmers can be able to access data on markets, inputs, and loans.
With just a feature phone, smallholder farmers in Kenya can easily access market linkages, advisory services, crop insurance, and input credits. DigiFarm has had more than 1.2 million users since its inception into the agriculture space, and it’s become somewhat of a one-stop-shop for farmers.
Where did it start?
Safaricom’s Head of Commercial Segments and Operations, Fred Kiio, is passionate whenever he’s talking about the role Safaricom has played in Kenya. According to Fred Kiio, agricultural production in Kenya depends primarily on how much smallholder farmers in the country can produce.
But, most farming activities usually take place in uncoordinated ways and in isolation, with the families of the farmers providing the unskilled labour. Farming responsibilities have a generational hierarchy where parents are responsible for teaching their children, and so on.
DigiFarm started as something that can help scale smallholder farming. Kiio believed that there was no need for smallholder farmers in Kenya to remain that way.
How is it helping farmers?
There are so many different ways this Safaricom product is helping farmers all over the nation. Below are just but a few of them.
1. Access to loans
Arifu is one of the most valued and used services on the platform. Users of the platform like services that respond to their daily needs or urgent needs. Farmers can now easily access credit even when they don’t have money to meet planting deadlines. Arifu also provides farmers with a convenient and flexible learning experience.
Some farmers suggested Safaricom should add an in-person contact feature to facilitate the learning processes like calling experts, as well as in-person training programs for farmers with low literacy levels.
2. Farmers fulfilling long-term purposes with digital solutions
Arifu is one of the most valued solutions on the platform. Farmers use it a lot to gain new knowledge on how to farm better and more efficiently. Some users even rely on it before they’ve fully adopted it. Smallholder farmers can now seek comprehensive and timely advice during external shocks. Most smallholder farmers have even started to use their mobile wallet applications as their primary saving solution.
3. Farmers are using this solution to expand their agricultural businesses
Smallholder farmers are now saving more and gaining knowledge faster. This can build bigger capacity for external shocks, and make school fees payments. Farmers who’ve been taking advantage of all the platforms DigiFarm provides have recorded huge and positive impacts in many different aspects of their agribusiness.
Positive experiences with Digifarm have both encouraged and inspired some smallholder Kenyan farmers to branch out and explore other digital solutions.
The DigiFarm platform provides smallholder farmers with a one-stop, easy-to-use service. All they need to do is register and then fill in details about how big their farms are, what kind of farming they’re doing and how much livestock they own. This data allows DigiFarm to help them better in all their endeavors. It also helps them build farming activities databases for the country which can then be utilized in long-term planning.
Smallholder farmers now have the financial support they can rely on, and all this via a digital solution.