NAIROBI, Kenya, 17 May – A mobile platform that shortens the agricultural supply chain in Kenya is set to receive a $100,000 (Sh10 million) grant from global social impact programme Expo Live.
The app, Selina Wamucii, aims to reduce food wastage and boost farmers incomes by shortening the supply chain and passing the efficiency savings on to both smallholder farmers and buyers while ensuring a greater proportion of fresh produce reaches the market.
The platform allows buyers to source fresh produce directly from smallholder farmers, even without access to the internet.
The solution digitizes the entire supply chain without requiring farmers to have access to smartphones or the internet. Smallholder farmers can register on the platform by dialing a code from their mobile phones.
Selina Wamucii then collects data relating to location, product type, volume and projections to match farmers with the right buyers.
Some 60 percent of food produced by smallholder farmers in Africa never reaches the market due to supply chain inefficiencies.
Selina Wamucii will use the Expo Live grant to further develop its mobile platform and to acquire best practice and organic certifications to open up new markets and achieve even better prices for farmers.
The grant will also be used to recruit an additional 2,000 farmers to the platform, enabling the platform to more than double its acceptance rate for buyers’ requests from the current 2.4 percent to at least 5 percent.
More than 3,000 smallholder farmers are registered with Selina Wamucii, says the company’s co-founder, John Oroko.
Oroko says the mango farmers who were previously earning Sh10,000 per year are now making an average of Sh16,000 per year.
“Some of our mango farmers have increased their incomes by 60 percent, allowing them to pay for medical bills and their children’s school fees. We also see smallholders investing their money back into the farm to increase yields,” says Oroko.
Selina Wamucii was founded in June 2015 by John Oroko and Gaita Kariuki, both of whom were born and raised in smallholder families. The company is named after the co-founders’ mothers.
“Both Gaita and I saw the challenges faced by our parents so we studied to become engineers and decided to use our knowledge to help farmers. By enabling users to buy seedlings and better equipment, our platform is helping farmers to become self-sufficient,” explained Oroko.
Expo Live is Expo 2020 Dubai’s innovation and partnership programme and has an allocation of USD 100 million to back projects that offer creative solutions to pressing challenges that impact people’s lives or help preserve the planet – or both.
“Selina Wamucii addresses all of Expo 2020 Dubai’s subthemes – Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability – by enhancing opportunities for farmers, reducing food waste by improving access to fresh produce, and contributing to a more sustainable agricultural industry,” said Yousuf Caires, Vice President – Expo Live at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Selina Wamucii is the latest Kenyan project to benefit from Expo Live, after Eco Fuels Kenya, a start-up that is using oil from the nuts of croton trees to produce energy, received a grant during the programme’s first cycle.