, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 8 – A Kenyan-born agricultural information platform, Mfarm has received a Sh20 million boost from the M-PESA Foundation to scale up its agent network across the country.
Through the Mfarm platform, farmers are able to access price information for their crops on their mobile phones, granting them more power to decide where to market their produce.
Farmers will be required to send a text message with their name and location to the number 20255 to get the relevant information on their crops.
The partnership with the M-PESA Foundation is aimed at bridging the digital divide between the agricultural and ICT sectors as well as to provide using mobile technology.
Mfarm Director Linda Kwamboka said the software ensures that farmers are no longer exploited by middlemen who make away with all the profits leaving the small scale farmers with little, if any, income.
She says that Mfarm has deployed an agent network whose key role is to recruit farmers onto the platform and to act as collection points for different farm produce.
“This agent network is fashioned around the M-PESA agent network model,” she says.
More than 8000 farmers are currently registered on the platform.
“This product will make agriculture a viable business option especially for small scale farmers who have over the years suffered exploitation by middlemen which has left them making low profit margins,” said M-PESA Foundation Executive Director Les Baille.