Safaricom, through the M-agri Business branch, has introduced two new initiatives to target farmers and enhance the food security sector of the country. Food security, which is also part of President Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda has been a vital sector in the Kenyan economy. According to Daily Nation, Shs 400 billion has been allocated to Big Four Agenda with Shs 20.25 billion of the total amount going to help improve food security sector. It is vividly clear that the government is trying to improve the food security of the country. Despite the recent allegations of the presence of mercury in imported sugar, the government hasn’t turned back from their promise to improve the food security sector.
Safaricom, the giant telecommunication operators is not left behind. The tech-savvy firm has introduced Digifarm and Digifarm for Enterprise to facilitate smooth and faster transactions in the agricultural sector. Digifarm targets smallholder farmers while Digifarm for Enterprises is tailored for SACCOs and cooperatives that mainly operate to buy produce.
Digifarm Enterprise facility has a Bluetooth-enabled weighing scale. The infusion of the technology in the system enables the farmers to acquire exact figures and prices of their produce. Safaricom has collected [and is still collecting] details of the users (registration and identification details). Therefore, the system operates to effectively eliminate manual record-keeping by farmers and the organizations or institutions. The manual record-keeping has failed for a myriad of times and as a result, it has caused unnecessary losses to farmers. It is time for Kenyan farmers to switch to digital instruments and devices to reduce the errors they that experience. As Mr Fredrick Kiio, head of M-Agri Business said;
“At the end of the day, the farmer gets an SMS notification of how much he has delivered. This gives one an idea of what to expect, while the collection centre also easily keeps tabs of what it has received”.
Digifarm, on the other hand, provides solutions to small-scale farmers. To achieve this, the platform uses a simple mobile device that does not require a smartphone (USSD codes). This is what Kiio said concerning Digifarm;
“Digifarm is a business solution that addresses small-scale farmers’ matters using a simple mobile device that does not necessarily need to be a smartphone. The question we sought to tackle with the development of this platform is why the smallholder farmer has all along remained small. In the country’s rural setup, every person will tell you he or she is a farmer. However, are they proud? Not quite”.