Safaricom in partnership with iProcure, FarmDrive and Arifu will see farmers in Meru County receive localised information and discounted inputs on their crops according to their specific needs following opening of four DigiFarm depots in Laare, Nkubu, Mikindori and Meru Town.
The service initially accessible only through mobile devices will now have centres specially tailored to cater to the specific needs of farmers in each of the counties it is available in.
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.
Digifarm is an agribusiness solution tailored for small-holder farmers, providing them with financing, information on different crops and animals in addition to quality, discounted inputs. 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. Input recommendations are similarly data-driven and are informed by climate, current weather conditions, soil types and soil fertility
Launched in October 2017, Digifarm now serves more than 670,000 farmers and has opened 18 depots across the country. FarmDrive and iProcure were among five startups that qualified for Safaricom’s $1 million Spark Fund, which provided early-stage funding to firms innovating around the mobile phone.