YAP Proposal #89: Just Farm IT! (Allan C’oredo, Kenya)

farmer1

In the past two decades the narrative of the African agriculture has been marred by a state of hopelessness. A continent with over half a billion small scale farmers and vast resources has been at pains trying to feed itself how could this be? Growing up in the rural area of western Kenya I noticed that the small scale farmers were practicing the same convectional farming over and over again; Reliance of the ever uncertain rainfall, borrowing seeds from the neighbors reserve grains, planting the same crop (cereals), low yields, poor market linkage and a subsequent exploitation by middlemen resulted in a vicious cycle of poverty among small scale farmers.

Fast forward 21st century and the revolution of ICT has transformed African agriculture. From a state of hopelessness to hope through enablement of easy access to seeds, fertilizer, credit, insurance, and market linkage hence improving farmer’s livelihood by eradicating hunger and poverty.

With the ever growing urban population and steady influx in the cities, there is a change in lifestyle leading to change in taste and preference of what we consume hence the demand for more varieties of agricultural products especially horticulture is on the rise.

However, small scale farmers are not knowledgeable about the right seeds, agronomic practices of the new crops, and their new emerging market which fetches higher prices compared to the traditional crops. Though the will is there but the technical know-how and the agronomic practice is still a challenge to the small scale-farmers.

Introducing Farm IT (www.farmit.co.ke)

Farm IT advises new horticultural farmers throughout the crop life cycle starting from the input stage where we advise on the right seed (depending on the region, climate, local or hybrid, yield per acre, and resilience to disease) during the planting and growth stage we advise on (seed rate, spacing, fertilizer usage fungal and pest control what to do during flowering stages, maturity period, and harvesting) then we form farmer venture groups where we link the venture groups to the market.

Our Unique SMS Platform, an Agronomist and Star Farmers; to implement this service, Farm IT uses a unique SMS based platform where the agronomic advisories and market networking will are shared. An agronomist and star farmers in various horticultural crops will be providing the documented and undocumented agri-advisories that have been proven to work hence reliability of the information shared.

Enormous discovery: Farm IT wants to create capable producers to meet the market demand of horticultural crops in terms of quality and quantity. We baby step the new horticultural farmers from the seed purchase, through the agronomic practices and upon producing higher yields, the farmers will get higher returns from the market linkage. The activity covers the duration of the crop variety life stage (from Purchase to sowing-to maturity-to linkage)

Whats done so far?

We already have an agronomist and star farmers who will be mapping, drafting and advising on the right seeds, reliable agronomic practices, and linking farmers to the market. We have already acquired a short code (40225) where these messages are streaming in, developed a dashboard where we can monitor the conversation from each farmer, and we are in the process of forming venture groups.

Farm IT Message

In addition to this we have created our website (www.farmit.co.ke ) and we are increasing awareness about our project through the social media (https://twitter.com/FarmIT6) where we have over 145 agricultural institutions following us.

Bonus

If successfully implemented, farm It will align itself to the SDG through eradicating hunger and reducing poverty among small scale farmers by production of high and quality agri- produce and the resultant market linkage.

Farm IT will also create a platform for affiliate marketing and a vast network of agri-value chain stakeholders removing barriers of market access. The data from the conversation between the farmers, agronomist and star farmers can be harnessed and used as a basis of research especially from the undocumented practices.

Farm IT sustainability Model

Farm IT is currently targeting 10,000 farmers to subscribe to its service, each farmer paying 3,000 KES for the advisories and market linkage per planting period. We are planning to offer affiliate marketing services to other agricultural service providers such as banks, insurance etc.

Our success indicators will range from the yield per acre of the horticultural produce from the new farmers and the rate of successful transaction between the Market and the venture groups. we also want to measure our success based on the number of farmers subscribing to the service and the number of messages received from the farmer in form of questions.

Budget

Laptops 4 each at 40 KES=1,600 $

Hosting FEE: The first one year @month is 20,000 *12= 2400$

One-time Payment for creation of farmer ID: 100$

Transport allowance for the project coordinator to the farmer field schools, SHG, AG Shows=500$

One of Payment for dashboard and website upgrade=200$

Miscellaneous=200$

Allan C’oredo is a 26 year old agriprenuer with zeal of alleviating small scale farmers from the vicious cycle of poverty through proper business management, and trade practices. Allan Holds a BSc. Agribusiness Management and Trade and three years working experience in different agricultural institutions.

Blogpost and picture submitted by Allan C’oredo (Kenya) – corodrick89[at]gmail.com

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #89 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

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305 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #89: Just Farm IT! (Allan C’oredo, Kenya)

    1. the 10,000 farmers will be reached via farmer field schools, Agricultural shows, farmer model, networking with prominent extension agents, advertising via radio to reach huge maximum number

    1. First you have to subscribe to the service, once you do that we form a venture group of the same farmers farming the same crop near your area then we form venture groups for this region.

  1. I’m a farmer practicing agriculture and rearing of cattle basically for dairy purposes, how then could i linked my business i.e dairy farming to the purchasers i.e to the coolers?

    1. the subscription service and the forming of the venture groups are limited to Kenya only since its only a start-up but with growth we are planning on expanding to the East African Markets

    1. Exploitation of farmers has been a major challenge in agricultural marketing. how shall we ensure that the farmers are not exploited? We link the farmers with horticultural buyer associations who buy horticultural products in bulk hence creating a group bargain which minimizes poor prices, we link them to reputable horticultural export companies since the farmers have been receiving tips of the right seeds to proper agronomic practice hence their crops are of high quality to meet the horticultural export requirements

  2. This is a good project Allan, let me ask at what intervals are we supposed to receive this information lets say i am a watermelon farmer? and is the subscription yearly?

    1. Timothy thanks for your interest. the agronomic tips start from seed selection then when you plant a certain variety of crop lets say Capsicum we map it for you by sending the tips depending on the crop life stage. during the sedbed stage for capsicum (sweet pepper) we advise on the best way, during transplant that is three weeks down the line we tell you what to do to boost shoot development and so on. it alings to the crop life cycle. for the start, the subscription will be based on the crop maturity period.

  3. For the win-win outcomes in terms of Farm IT advises and a farmer to get high yield , What is your solution to the impacts of climate-related disasters such as droughts in Africa as well as increase cost of farm inputs, right ready market and the middlemen cartels?

    1. Thank You for this, Farm It agronomic advisories are geared towards smart farming, using irrigation such as drip, using seed trays, using climate smart technologies such as weather apps to inform farmers who cannot access the internet and the this apps about the weather patterns. we offer affiliate marketing to insurance companies that insure crops from climate related risk and so on. what Farm It is doing is trying to eliminate the scourge of middlemen who exploit our farmers by linking them direct to the buyer. note we only connect and we do not take any commission from the agreement between the farmer and the buyer

  4. am very interested though I have a small parcel of land how do I qualify to venture into the groups with my small parcel if land

  5. Allan Coredo this is a great start-up how will it impact on the farmers who cant access internet? cause am sure they are plenty

    1. Thank you for this Judith, just Farm IT uses the sms platform since it is pervasive in the rural areas where there is poor internet access and since most farmers own mobile phones which have GSIM card they can receive the agronomic tips.

  6. good job allan agribusiness students need to emulate this job creation ways rather than waiting for white collar

    1. Thank you for agribusiness students we can make them to be our Farm IT ambassadors, by spreading the information about our service to farmers in their local areas and by this we will be able to meet our 10000 target of horticultural producers

  7. Hello Allan, this’s a very noble idea. Most farmers are now tech savvy and no doubt this will empower young farmers and change the traditional way of farming to modern farming.

  8. how exactly are you going to link the farmers to the market its not clear do you have an agreement with the horticultural buyers?

    1. Agustine thank you for your thoughtful question, First we review the benefits of our service to the farmers (capable horticultural producers) then we highlight to them how large purchase reduces cost and how joining venture groups creates trust and stronger relation with buyers. to the Buyers we have complied a list of horticultural buyers from them. this buyers have a comprehensive group of service from transportation, to collection , to payment services that are tailored for the horticultural producers.

  9. A great and challenging narrative for a hungry and equally angry nation. This surely is the way to go. Though I have reservations on the KSHS 3k consultation fee…it might be a hurdle in reaching the targeted 10k farmers. Good write-up Allan.

    1. Thank You for your comment Ndeto, Farmers are going to benefit immensely from the agronomic advice producing high quality and quantity horticultural products which will fetch higher prices from the venture groups hence farmers receiving higher returns. to them subscribing to this service will be a a small investment to them. More like an input

    1. Thank you for this Geoffrey, for the mass seed producers we can partner with them during the planting stages for them to advertise their seed variety to our farmers who have subscribed to the information. we can partner with them and we can be their affiliate partners but that is after all proper procedure for production of seeds is adhered to

    1. Thank you Susie the socio-economic benefits from farm IT project is enormous from youth employment, comerce, independence and self esteem among farmers, access to health care among family members of farmers

    1. Daniel we have already made some progress. though we are not yet registered still contemplating under which registration our venture will be under. so far we have managed to get a few farmers who have subscribed to the platform. we are also creating awareness on social media and on our own website

    1. Thank you shirley actually our initial though and main reason for forming farm IT was that of giving farmers who cant access the internet all the available information through the GSIM but we realized not all info are accurate on the internet

  10. people apply different rates of fertilizer due to difference in soil and climate how do you advice this to dif
    ferent farmers

    1. we have star farmers in different areas of the country who also provide the agronomic tips and depending on the region we are able the farmer is located he/she is able to give the advice on the different area. the agronomist is also experienced hence able to give advice on the different fertilizers to applied differently in those areas

  11. the 3000 in my opinion is much for your target groupnot to mention acceccibility to phones n illiteracy being a big challenge.other than that it a well thought idea.that just needs a little ironing up here n there

    1. Thank you Ninnie, due to the start up nature we wanted to start with the amount and from the experience and the activities engaged, we will be able to know if the charges were exorbitant or if we need to add. I believe most farmers in the rural areas have access to Farmers are able to own a basic mobile Phone that send and receive message those are the farmers who we are targeting at the moment

    1. in many ways Jotham, first socially there living standards will improve, then economically they will be able to gain access to market that initially seemed hard to penetrate due to the venture groups

  12. Cool!!! I love it. Its nice to know that young people like you are focussing on the issue of food security

  13. Great Idea Allan, my main question is for those farmers that don’t own mobile phones and want to get out of poverty through growing highly commercial crops. how o you intend to incoporate them in this noble venture?

    1. still we have not come up with a project to cater for the farmers that cannot afford mobile devices yet but with the growth we can come up with a good idea to cater for them

  14. Great initiative Allan. The proposal will go a way empowering the farmers and the society at large.

  15. this is a noble business let me ask suppose a customer follows the agronomic advices and his horticultural crops don’t perform the way it is expected. what do you do to the customer

    1. Thank you Luke for your question, the agronomic advisories are reliable and have proven to work both from Star farmers and agronomist failure to yield as expected that can be attributed to the misbehavior from nature which normally occurs.

  16. this is the way to go yessss !!agriculture is a highly developed industry in KENYA and this could really help

  17. Great proposal Allan. This is the way to go to ensure food security in this country.
    I need the tips to be able to start where i stopped n my tomato and capsicum projects. Do you provide advice on horticultural crops under greenhouse?

  18. its a great idea and i like the initiative and i hope it works well ,Thumbs up.but there are so many small scale farmers, and i know that even if they have phone they can only receive call but can’t write sms,so how will you get to them with is initiative and make it work for them too.

    1. illiteracy is a challenge to many small scale farmers living in the rural area. our services are limited to those that can read and write. but with further growth we can see how we will incorporate them in the venture even if it means texting in vernacular languages

  19. Egypt is a desert country and they have crops just like other agricultural countries and they are doing well,now we would like the government and the NGOs and donors to please come up with an idea to help this group get to our desert areas and make a change in this areas so people from northern part of Kenya our beloved country can also have a way to depend on themselves too.These are young guys who make a great change but only if they have lifters ,thus the government, NGOs and donors support the initiative.

  20. Hi is it possible to get advisories on cereal crops if one wants since you said its only horticultural crops

    1. for the meantime we are focusing more on horticultural crops since we aim at producing crops that fetch higher prices with an aim of improving farmers livelihoods

  21. Hi allan an much interested in the market linkage and not the agronomic tips since i have been practicing capsicum (sweet peppers) for the last 5 years and i know all bits however to get markets that will offer better prices is the only hurdle kindly advice. is the subscription going to be cheaper?

  22. great work if i have large can i subcribe now to get tips on carrot selling am a farmer in salgaa but the prices i receive are not okay

  23. Farming is not easy it needs proper agricultural practice and if you can offer that then you are in business. good luck

  24. part of my job is filling rental taxes for landlords most of my clients are farmers and believe you me they need advice.

  25. Hi Allan good work we at Wefarm we offer the same service though we encourage a horizontal approach to sharing of the agronomic advisories lets see how we can partner with Farm IT

  26. This is a good venture. KENAFF is an institution that lobbies and advocates for small holder farmers though we do not have this service, we still believe in face-to face agricultural extension service where we actually go to the farm. but if we can integrate the two the farmer will benefit

    1. Face to face agri-extension is fine but in a bid to reduce operational cost and increase efficiency in terms of timely agri-extension then virtual agri-extension is preferred

    1. Hi isaiah thanks for subscribing we are still at the formative stages so the efficiency is not seen but soon every agronomic advisories will be received in a timely and reliable fashion

  27. Hi am already subscribed to the service. i had yellow beans that i posted on the platform for sale however i only got one response from the buyer and his price was not so good how can you improve on this

  28. Hi Allan i read your blog the last time we talked I bought different varieties of seeds for my project in Somalia. we talked in length about various agronomic advisories. now my question is if i know all this whats the essence of receiving the messages again

  29. am only interested in the marketability of my products tree tomatoes do you offer advice in that area

  30. Great work hope all is well in Nairobi this is good many farmers have been filling the pinch of travelling to Nairobi just to get agricultural advice on the right crops

  31. Hi what about herbs I plant dania, parsley and the market for me is always there though the land is not enough i can partner with other farmers to sell

  32. Hi this is amazing m wondering the level of prosperity you will bring to the farmers God bless your project

  33. this good but as a farmer am a bit worried about the advice concerning chemical application. many agricultural extension agents are biased towards inferior chemicals how will you ensure that you are not biased towards promoting such products that are inferior

  34. Allan we already registered and we saw the service is working well we hope our monica F1 will fetch higher prices from your market linkage

  35. nice work however do you give advice also on insurance of crops, credit, and business advice to farmers

  36. This is a good venture however having many experts talking of star farmers, and agronomist do you think the info will too much for the farmers to digest

  37. Good work Alan is there a commission you get for the market linkage cause you are still acting as a middlemen when connecting the farmers to the market

  38. Hi Allan in a world where technology is the trend setter i think Farm IT should increase farmers incom through that messaages

  39. This is great but we look at cereal as our safety net in Africa without it we cannot realize agricultural development

  40. Great piece of proposal the funds should be used well to achieve the intended target group who are farmers

  41. Farm IT is a good venture of increasing farmers knowledge and at the same time increasing their productivity

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