Farmers Pride, a one-stop e-commerce platform that connects village level farmers to quality inputs, services, and information through women-owned DigiShops powered by technology has raised US$220,000 from US-based impact investor Gray Matters Capital coLABS.
The funding of US$220,000 is aimed at helping Farmers Pride reach 500,000, mostly female, rural farmers to boost their income and productivity through increased access to quality inputs and services, insurance services, financial services, market linkages, and farming mechanization.
Farmers Pride will support women agro-dealers through structured education and training programs. This will entail the funding amount to be used for agro-dealer pipeline development and launch of 50 technology-powered women and youth-owned village level DigiShops.
The funding will also support DigiShop technology upgrade to support last-mile SMS and voice-powered delivery of farmer education and inputs as well as roll out a robust farmer education program to reach additional 30,000 farmers by 2022, majority of these being women and youth.
Prior to this funding, Farmers Pride received a total of US$335,000 from various initiatives including Kenya Markets Trust, D-prize Global Distribution Challenge award, Climate Information and the World Bank group.
“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,” said Founder Samuel Munguti.
He further explains how substandard operations and management of the agro-dealer stores have significantly affected agricultural productivity. “The majority of farmers across Kenya are serviced by village level agro-dealer stores. These stores face numerous challenges ranging from poor record-keeping, lack of information, distribution, access to counterfeit products, capital and poor management where farmers end up purchasing poor quality products at exploitative prices with limited or no extension and education support.”
Speaking about the funding, Sharda Vishwanathan, Pipeline Development Lead, Gray Matters Capital coLABS, said, “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.”
The funding of Farmers Pride marks coLABS’ third investment in Kenya and its seventh portfolio company to be added from Africa following Rwanda’s ARED, Ghana’s Redbird Health Tech, Nigeria’s SonoCare, Tanzania’s WomenChoice Industries, and Kenya’s Taimba and Farmshine.
Image Credits: Farmers Pride