For most farming countries across Africa, a major setback to the progress of their products is the low or appalling supply of farming inputs, and in-spite several claims by those in authority about the much set aside to alleviate this backdrop, the results achieved speak contrary to what the reports say
A simple case is what is applicable in Kenya, which prompted recently-funded agri-tech startup Farmers Pride to propel itself for national and international growth, stemming from a failed system and environment
Samuel Munguti is the CEO of Farmers Pride Kenya. At the start of his journey as an agric entrepreneur, Munguti ventured into watermelon and tomato farming, but the enterprise fell along the way on trying to get off the ground due to battles with accessing the right inputs, services, and information.
Munguti shared his experiences and what led to the launch of his enterprise:
“The distribution of agriculture inputs and services is poor, inefficient and unreliable, and dominated by poor quality seeds, counterfeit seeds and agrochemicals, poor input stock management, unaccredited agro-dealers, poor farming technologies, poor post-harvest management, and poor market intelligence to inform farming decisions.”
“Most rural farmers depend on agro-dealer stores to access inputs and services. These stores face numerous challenges, ranging from record-keeping to sourcing inputs, to management.
Solving these problems for agro-dealers makes them offer improved services to their farmers while empowering the village entrepreneurs to run successful businesses.”
Munguti launched Farmers Pride in 2016 alongside Nancy Mutuku in an attempt to solve these existing problems.
The startup has built a one-stop e-commerce platform that links village level farmers to quality inputs, services, and information through women-owned DigiShops powered by technology.
The last mile online-to-offline marketplace platform capitalises on technology and franchising to improve the capacity of women-owned agro-dealer stores to ensure increased farm production and improved family income and food security.
Munguti said further stated: “Our DigiShop platform creates new agriculture opportunities to village-level farmers to access trusted and dependable information, inputs and services,”
Munguti’s personal experience with the challenges farmers and agro-dealers face evidently paid off in the end. Presently it has a network of 20 DigiShops, and over 300 agri-vendors in the pipeline, and 18,000 farmers on-boarded.
Farmers Pride intends to scale its operations after it announced a $200,000 funding round earlier in the month.
The investment came from Gray Matters Capital via GMC coLABS, an early-stage, sector-agnostic investment portfolio that intends to support innovative and scalable startups that better the lives of women and girls around the globe.
Munguti’s Farmers Pride plans to grow the size of the DigiShop network to 1,000 come five years time, to directly serve around 500,000 rural farmers.
He said: “We are currently operating in eastern and western Kenya, and targeting national coverage in the next two years before rolling out our pan-African expansion strategy. The GMC coLABS funding will definitely accelerate our scale.”
Featured Image: Samuel Munguti, CEO of Farmers Pride Kenya
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