Farm Concern International (FC)I’s continuous active participation with the smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa has provided avenues for enhancing the smallholder farmer’s lives and competitiveness through various innovative interventions that are research driven. Significantly, FCI gathered critical data and information in 2014 that analyzed distances and time taken by smallholder farmers to get to reliable sources of farm inputs. The findings of this analysis indicated that these two fundamentals, time and distance, are prohibitively challenging to smallholder farmers’ commercialization attempts. In addressing these challenges, FCI has come up with a technology innovation dubbed the E-Women Afma-X.
The Afma-X Innovation
The E-Women Afma-X - (Africa Markets and Farms Exchange) technology has been developed by Farm Concern International -(FCI) with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under GCE Phase1.
It is an integrated virtual platform for input sourcing, services and commodity virtual trading that integrates marketing, business services, payment systems and partnerships, aiming at reducing time, labour and cost for small holder farmers, particularly targeting women.
The technology developed by FCI, is designed to leverage on the mobile phone technology that is wide spread across many African countries, Kenya being among them. The intervention has been rolled out in 10 commercial villages in Central and Eastern regions in Kenya and has currently enrolled 8,669 Small holder Farmers.
Instant results of the technology
In the two regions where this technology was piloted targeting 5000 small holder farmers, impressive results have been recorded that emphasize the critical role of the Afma-X Technology among small holder farmers. The pilot phase surpassed the targeted number of small holder farmers by registering 8,699 farmers, a 173.9% success (FCI 2014 data).
From these farmers, FCI has managed to assess the actual impact generated through adoption of the Afma-X technology. From the findings, small holder farmers have significantly managed to realize improved farm production (34.3%) and increased standards of living (28.6%).
This is an indication that with enhanced roll out of this technology, Small Holder Farmers in Africa will increasingly become more productive and commercialized. Looking forward ,FCI hopes that the innovative E-women dial up Afma-X platform will be rolled out all over Kenya and subsequently into Sub-Saharan Africa to millions of small holder farmers who are continually challenged by low productivity and poor market access so as to transform their lives by enhancing input access, improved market efficiency and increased availability of market information.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond