Connecting Farmers To Opportunities – Safaricom’s Digifarm Opens Four Farmers’ Depots in Meru County

    Geoffrey in his farm. Photo by Gerald Anderson #TwawezaLive

    Despite Meru’s seemingly small size as compared to other counties, it is one of the key counties bursting with possibilities, devolving resources and of course, a very rich agricultural presence. With fertile soil and a favourable climate, it is little won-
    der that farming dominates Meru’s economic activity. The sector accounts for 80% of Meru’s income so when Safaricom announced they would be opening 4 Digifarm Depots in the county, farmers were overjoyed!

    Kenyan-Collective-Connecting-Farmers-Opportunities-Digifarm-Meru-Twaweza-Live
    Photo by Gerald Anderson #TwawezaLive

    Safaricom in partnership with iProcure, FarmDrive and Arifu this week opened four Digifarm depots as they traversed through Meru County for the second edition of #TwawezaLive.

    Kenyan-Collective-Connecting-Farmers-Opportunities-Digifarm-Meru-Twaweza-Live
    Photo by Gerald Anderson #TwawezaLive

    Located in Laare, Nkubu, Mikindori and Meru Town, the four depots will offer quality, affordable inputs to farmers from Meru County. Since October 2017, more than 105,000 farmers from the county have signed up for the Digifarm service.

    “Digifarm leverages technology to tackle the challenges faced by farmers and to also empower farmers with solutions to grow their businesses. The service is specially tailored to cater to the specific needs of farmers in each of the counties it is available in, providing localised information and discounted inputs, “said Rita Okuthe, Director – Enterprise Business, Safaricom.

    Meru farmers will especially benefit from the all-round availability of inputs at the depots, especially during peak season, and access to advisory and technical information from experts stationed at each of the depots.

    Geoffrey in his farm. Photo by Gerald Anderson #TwawezaLive

    Speaking to one of the farmers in Meru, Geoffrey Kimathi who practices mixed farming in the area says the Digifarm depots are a dream come true for him.

    “One of the constant challenges we face is getting farm input. Resources like quality fertilizers and chemicals for spraying are hard to get especially when you don’t have enough money. With Digifarm however, I can go to a depot, get my fertilizers on loan and pay them gradually in a month or 60 days. Now, my children even go to private school and I can comfortably pay school fees for them and buy what I need for the farm without any worry thanks to the effectiveness and efficiency of having Digifarm close to us.”

    Kenyan-Collective-Connecting-Farmers-Opportunities-Digifarm-Meru-Twaweza-Live
    Picture courtesy of Gerald Anderson #TwawezaLive

    Farmers can enrol to and access Digifarm by dialling *283#.

    For loan processing, the service relies on a big data model developed by FarmDrive to score farmers for financing, based on historical data on their farms. Previously, farmers have struggled to access adequate financing as formal lenders lack enough information to assess the farmers.

    The service also provides farmers with input recommendation specific to their locality, with the recommended inputs accessible at a discount or on credit at a Digifarm depot.

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