Kenyan agritech startup secures $220 000 funding

Farmers Pride, a Kenya-based agritech startup has secured a reported $220 000 in funding from US-based impact investor, Gray Matters Capital

The inclusive agritech aims to use the funding to promote its goals in supporting women-owned small farmers

The secured funding will be utilised by Farmers Pride to assist 500 000, mostly female, rural farmers to boost their income via the one-stop eCommerce platform which allows access to quality inputs and services, insurance services, financial services, market linkages, and farming mechanization.

Sharda Vishwanathan, pipeline development dead, Gray Matters Capital coLABS comments on the funding provided to Farmers Pride and the importance of supporting small farmers. 

 “In our interactions with agri-tech entrepreneurs, we have learned that access to quality agri-inputs and technical know-how is a huge challenge which further makes smallholder farmers (80% of which are women) vulnerable to the risks of climate change. Covid-19 has only widened this gap and impacted productivity by creating several bottlenecks. Farmers Pride has built a sustainable solution that can address the looming challenges related to the agricultural last mile. By harnessing technology, Farmers Pride transforms the women-owned informal stores into micro-franchisees that can build traceability of the inputs and thus, guarantee quality. In the process, they not only help build a community of micro-entrepreneurs with improved incomes but also shift gears for smallholder farmers by increasing the productivity of their yields. We are excited to work with Farmers Pride and support their inclusive agri-tech model that serves the underserved and has the potential to create a ripple effect in the communities.”

The startup will support women agro-dealers via the provision of structured education and training programmes as it will use the funding to upgarde its exissting last-mile SMS and voice-powered delivery of farmer education and inputs. 

The secured funding will be used towards the development and launch of 50 tech-powered women and youth-owned village level DigiShops. In addtion, the agritech startup will use the funding towards the creation of a robust farmer education programme targeted at assisting 30 000 farmers by 2022. 

Farmers Pride supports women 

Founded in 2016, the agritech startup and social enterprise functions to improve the welfare and income of Kenyan farmers via an online-to-offline marketplace platform. 

Farmers Pride has incorporated the use of a one-stop eCommerce platform or marketplace that connects ‘village’ level farmers to quality inputs, services, and information through women-owned DigiShops powered by technology. These DigiShops fall under the agritech startups gender portfolio, coLABS.

Farmers Pride, Facebook

With a strong focus on empower women-owned agro-dealers and small farmers, Farmers Pride allows its users to access credible insights, inputs, and services to boost their small agro-business. 

Samuel Munguti, founder of Farmers Pride provides insight into the aims of the agritech startup. 

“Farmers Pride’s competitive advantage and uniqueness lies in adopting an agro-dealer franchising concept and integrating that with the DigiShop technology to transform rural women-owned agro-dealer shops, support women farmers to increase their income and improve last-mile delivery of agricultural solutions; thus creating prosperous futures for smallholder farmers while contributing to the elimination of youth unemployment, food insecurity, and malnutrition in Kenya and beyond, in Africa,” 

Addressing a critical problem in the small-holder farmer industry in Kenya, Farmers Pride provides an alternative to the traditional and outdated agro-dealer stores that have not adopted technology to increase efficiency. 

The result of utilisng the traditional agro-dealer stores is that there is poor record-keeping, a lack of critical information, lack of distribution, and more. The overall results in farmers purchasing poor quality products at exploitative prices with little to no educational support surrounding the said product. 

Munguti adds that the solution lies in digitizing this old age process to transform agricultural productivity in the country. 

“Modernizing these stores through digitization of their operations, last-mile and breaking last mile supply chain barriers, providing them with digital trading tools, and enabling them to offer improved extension services to their customers massively translates into enhanced awareness of inclusive agricultural practices and increased access to high-yielding inputs at affordable prices by the local farming communities.”

Read more: Kenyan-based tech startup secures funding
Read more: Agritech innovation fund worth $50 000 open for applications

Featured image: Farmers Pride, Facebook 



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