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Mercy Corps AgriFin reaches over 21.5 million small scale farmers in Africa with critical digital tools & services

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Mercy Corps AgriFin program which works with public and private sector partners to design, test and scale digitally enabled products and services for small scale producers (SSPs) to increase their productivity, incomes and resilience, has announced it has reached over 21.5 million SSPs with critical digital services.

With plans to reach 5 million more small scale producers by 2025, Mercy Corps AgriFin’s the current iteration of the program (AgriFin Digital Farmer II) has reached over 4.6 million SSPs with critical digital services since inception in 2021 and a total of more than 21.5 million since its launch and even being part of the team that provided crucial information to farmers during the COVID 19 pandemic and locust invasion in 2019-2020 in East Africa.

Reaching more than 21.5 million farmers

Since 2012, Agrifin has reached over 21.5 million smallholder farmers, even being part of the team that provided crucial information during the pandemic and locust invasion in Kenya and brings together innovative organizations to design and deliver quality products and services to increase their productivity, incomes and resilience by 50% while reaching at least 40% women.

According to Mercy Corps AgriFin Program Director Sieka Gatabaki, “We believe that in a digitally enabled system, smallholders can gain direct access to a range of inclusive and empowering financial, information and market access services. We are committed to increasing the visibility of smallholders to the institutions currently serving them, and to deepen the quality of digital solutions that are tailored to their needs. Our innovations empower farmers with access to Climate-smart Tools & Insights, Quality Inputs, Financing + Insurance, Last Mile Logistics and Markets. 

Business models for a sustainable scale

AgriFin helps its partners to de-risk innovation, support inclusive service delivery and business models for a sustainable scale. It employs farmer-centric research and design methodologies to address farmer needs and preferences, working to promote active adoption of services for smallholders in each country, with a strong and consistent focus on the needs of women and youth.

“We approach bundling in a phased approach which sequentially adds products linked to farmer trust, demand and capabilities, layering in more complex products as farmers become more familiar with accessing the services via mobile or other digital channels,” added Gatabaki.

Mercy Corps’ AgriFin focus in creating inclusive and efficiency food systems by focusing on digital financial services, digital information, advisory services, market access, logistics, climate smart activities and gender inclusivity.

Resilience they need against climate and emergency shocks

Launched in 2012, AgriFin’s primary target group is un-banked SSPs living below the poverty line. Mercy Corps AgriFin believes that with access to the right tools, SSPs can build the resilience they need against climate and emergency shocks and continue to feed their communities.

Mercy Corps AgriFin model has been able to scale and iterate with the support of integral funding, private sector, and government partners who value innovation, learning and impact.

“We believe that digital innovation can revolutionize the way SSPs feed the world, that’s why, based on years of learning and iterating, we built the AgriFin model to facilitate that process,” said Gatabaki. “We know that government and private sector partners are best suited to deliver those tools, and that technology is a critical accelerator. Our aim is to connect smallholder farmers to products and services that increase their productivity and income by 50%, with a 40% target population of Women and Youth.”

Digital innovation can revolutionize agriculture

However, not everything is smooth due to climate variability and population growth globally. Yet, AgriFin’s private sector and government partners remain committed to smallholder farmers and contribute to a thriving and just food production ecosystem through the development of sustainable services for them. AgriFin’s funding partners have provided the flexible capital needed for AgriFin to evolve its areas of innovation focus, enabling it to pivot and stay relevant and responsive to emerging farmer needs.

AgriFin mobilizes a vast network of partners ensuring that the needs of SSPs inform the design of partner products and services. With over eight years of learning and a vibrant network of partners, the AgriFin model is proven and primed         for further expansion and is expanding its focus to digital climate-smart agriculture and creating meaningful          employment for youth in agriculture and rural economies.

Peer-to-peer education

Mercy Corps AgriFin uses mobile apps, Interactive voice, SMS, chatbox, peer-to-peer education, climate insights, online markets and employs a market facilitation model to drive scalable, commercial product innovation for smallholder        farmers.

Mercy Corps AgriFin acts as a trusted broker to promote innovation and collaboration amongst partners. Some of its partners are agricultural ecosystem actors, including mobile network operators, financial institutions, farmer networks, technology innovators, agriculture value chain players, government, and other key market stakeholders. To date, AgriFin has partnered with more than 150 organisations to deliver digitally enabled solutions.

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