DaktariPap, Swahili for emergency doctor is a Nairobi-based startup that has developed a unique Mobile, Web and SMS technology platform to connect rural farmers and agro dealers to credible and affordable vet, agronomy and insurance service providers bundled with innovative finance.
Through its DaktariPap Finance, the app aims to help local farmers in communities across Kenya, then East Africa to connect to finances and insurance among others to prevent current and future crop or livestock failure or deaths which contribute to huge farmer losses, thereby increasing their farm productivity.
Daktaripap founder and CEO Samuel Munguti spoke to TechMoran about his company and his vision for it in Africa.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your educational background etc
Growing up in rural eastern Kenya, I had the opportunity to witness poverty and hunger. As smallholder farmers, my parents did backbreaking labor tilling their land by hand hoe to provide food and income for our big family. In spite of their hard work, the productivity of our farm was always low, such that we never had enough food to eat and would often go hungry, same story with other community members. Malnutrition and kwashiorkor were common sights in my village. My parents never gave up though, and they sent me to school with the hope that one day, I would return and help transform my family and my community.
Upon completing my education with an MBA degree in Marketing and management in 2014 and also armed with wide experience in marketing,demand generation,business development and brand positioning having worked with big brands in the region like CocaCola and Colgate Palmolive, i was sure it was the right moment to design a solution to address challenges facing farmers in my community . My first agribusiness venture was water melon and tomato farming. It was not easy to do this and make money. I actually made losses. Major limitations to success of this venture were poor access to right inputs, services, and information at local shops and service providers. I imagined same experience facing rural farmers every day.Looking at limitation farmers face accessing credible service providers together with two other colleagues we came up with Daktaripap solutions.
How would you describe your company, tell us about your team
Daktaripap solutions is a unique Mobile, Web and SMS technology platform connecting rural farmers and agro dealers to credible and affordable vet, agronomy and insurance service providers bundled with innovative finance (Daktaripap Finance) in their local community to prevent current and future crop/livestock health challenges which contribute to huge farmer losses, thereby increasing their farm productivity. Farmers are connected on demand to nearest credible and vetted service provider-either vet or agronomist or insurance agent depending on problem presented. Farmers access unique affordable finance (Daktaripap Finance) bundled with access to credible service providers. If onsite visit is needed, a visit is immediately scheduled with the nearest service provider to attend to the farmer within a promised turnaround time-less than 1 hr.
I’m the co-founder and CEO of DaktariPap. I have over 15 years managing agriculture organizations in Africa. My team consists of Alex Matui- co-founder and Chief Technology Officer and Brian Mutiso, also a co-founder and CIO. Brian has a bachelors degree in IT and wide experience in telecommunication industry
What market gap did you spot that motivated you to start the company?
If rural smallholder farmers could be linked to credible, certified and affordable vet, agronomy and insurance services both timely and conveniently through their mobile phones, then the results could be magical.There are on average 3.5 m rural smallholder farmers who are most affected by poor crop and livestock health care as a result of limited vet, agronomy, insurance and finance service providers.
There are over 20,000 qualified agronomists and over 10,000 vet graduands who are youth already graduated from universities but remain unemployed in villages yet majority of rural farmers lack access to qualified vet and agronomy service providers.
38 million people in Kenya alone have mobile phones, and about 88% of the population use mobile phones to do their everyday business
How has uptake been like since you launched?
We currently have 2000 subscriptions with over 10,000 connections done monthly
Who is your major competition? What do you do to distinguish yourself from them?
Daktaripap is a new way to connect farmers to service providers. There are however offline traditional competitors like independent vets, agronomists, banks and insurance agents. Farmers can access certified and more affordable service providers at comfort of their mobile phone without worrying about been conned or engaging non qualified practitioners who may risk and compromise health of their crop and livestock.
What are some of the biggest challenges you faced since the inception of the company?
Rising pilot and expansion capital to take Daktaripap solution to more communities is the biggest challenge.We are currently fundraising to raise USD 400K to take us past break even.
What do you think the future of digital health innovation is in Africa’s Agriculture industry?
Africa’s digital health innovation is a multi-billion dollar industry, one that is growing rapidly. As the continents population continues to grow, farmers and populations will need better and more efficient technology solutions to deal with different crop, livestock and human health-care issues. There is therefore need for more investments to help revolutionize the sector.
What is your advice to aspiring African entrepreneurs?
The best time to start an enterprise is now. Africa is still far behind on the number of youth taking up entrepreneurship path yet there exist lots of business opportunities. Passion and persistence is key to success. Always remain focused to the bigger picture. We have learned to document lots of data as we move along, we have learned to amplify our daily , monthly milestones and tie that to our projections of how we intent to transform farming in Africa. These numbers have been our most valuable asset when raising finances to expand Daktaripap.