Safaricom has announced that mobile agriculture platform DigiFarm is projected to outgrow M-Pesa in the next five years. Launched in 2017 in partnership with iProcure, Arifu and Farmdrive, the platform aims to digitize the entire agriculture value chain. It has registered over 1 million farmers to date.
“In line with our purpose of transforming lives, we have provided a mobile technology platform for the smallholder farmers to access a suite of information and financial services, including discounted products, customized information and tutorials on farming practices. The rate of growth has been phenomenal and we expect that DigiFarm will be bigger than M-Pesa in the next three to five years,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, chief financial services officer, Safaricom.
According to the 2019 Economic Survey, agriculture remains the dominant sector in the economy, accounting for 34.2% percent of the total value. Currently, Safaricom is exploring an end to end buyer –led model that will guarantee farmers access to ready markets for their produce at a fair price.
In addition, the farmers get access to credit and other financial facilities. They are also facilitated to share information, such as expected yields with processors, with all the financial transactions taking place within the M-Pesa ecosystem. As of last year, over 200,000 farmers were using the service daily with 7,000 successfully taking loans to assist them with purchasing high-quality seeds, fertilizers and pesticides.
In March, Makueni County entered into a partnership with DigiFarm and Bidco Africa to provide a ready market for 640 farmers who are the first beneficiaries of an end to end buyer driven model. In this arrangement, Bidco Africa provides a ready market for their produce which is used as raw materials in the processing of edible oils.
More growth is expected on this platform as the fintech industry in Kenya has been attracting huge investments over the last few years and is estimated to be worth around USD 1 billion by 2020.
Safaricom will continue using technology to create sustainable ways of doing business by focusing on innovation verticals of agriculture, healthcare, education and economic empowerment. Mr. Lopokoiyit was speaking at the Afro-Asian Fintech Festival at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies.