A survey conducted by Farm Concern International (FCI) on 2,390 farmers revealed that smallholder farmers can save money and time if they can optimise the readily accessible mobile platform.
Research shows that Kenya has a population of 43 million people out of which 30 million (70%) are subscribed to mobile phone services. The acceleration of money mobile phone transfer services and mobile banking have offered an affordable and convenient transactions both in the formal and informal markets.
Mobile payment systems are quickly replacing the costly traditional transfer services which require travelling long distances to withdraw or deposit funds. Nonetheless, the survey conducted by FCI revealed that although 95% of the 2,390 farmers were subscribed to mobile phone services, only 38% were using the mobile phones to order agricultural goods and services.
Following the results from the survey, FCI, supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, designed the E-Mama AFMA-X (Africa Markets and Farms Exchange) to help reduce time and labor women smallholder farmers spend in accessing quality farm inputs, services and market information with minimal mobility. This will offer a solution to the challenges of accessing farm inputs, logistics or BDS services as well as accessing markets particularly for poor rural women. AFMA-X is a dial up system that provides mobile phone based sourcing of goods and services, and payments.
Using the mobile phone that is accessible in all villages in Kenya, rural women farmers can now access information on farm inputs, services and markets through virtual linkages to input companies and traders. The project is being implemented in Meru, Mbeere and Embu regions and is expected to create a significant change.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond