, UASIN GISHU, Kenya, May 22 – A mobile platform by Safaricom that connects smallholder farmers with agro suppliers and Government services has issued 7,000 loans to farmers since its inception in October 2017.
The farmers have used the mobile loans to purchase farming outputs such as fertilizer and seeds.
In the same period, Digifarm has registered over 672,000 farmers which has allowed the county and the National government source vital data for planning and resource allocation as well as enable agricultural extension officers reach more farmers.
Speaking during the opening of a Digifarm depot in Burnt Forest town, Uasin Gishu County, Safaricom Head of Rift Region, Victor Ngumo, said the depot will provide more than farming inputs.
“This depot will give farmers access to agronomists who will advise them on issues such as soil productivity and quality of seeds to help them improve their yields,” said Ngumo.
The depot has been opened in partnership with agricultural supply chain experts iProcure, and will target thousands of farmers in and around the county with high quality seeds, fertilisers, animal feeds and agricultural chemicals.
Farmers will be able to purchase these inputs via M-PESA or credit payable between 30 – 90 days.
The platform also improves collection of agricultural data by registering farmers and allowing them to key in information such as the size of their farms and nature of farming activities.
“The information collected is used to ensure that farmers receive relevant support, and to assist in building a national database that can be used by the Government for long-term planning as it seeks to achieve food security in line with the Big Four agenda,” added Ngumo.
The depot is part of the company’s efforts to reach its customers through the recently launched Twaweza Live experience, which will see Safaricom deliver a mix of entertainment, product education, customer services, free medical camps and community projects across the country.