Kenyan agritech startup Farmshine, has raised $250,000 (KSH 25.5M) to bring in more staff and further develop the platform. The startup was set up to eliminate middlemen that were killing the value chain in Kenyan agriculture. It works by linking up farmers with information, suppliers, and other value providers directly. It does this through a traceable and transparent distributed value chain which gives farmers the information and contacts they need to access markets at a low cost.
Farmshine has been able to link up farmers and customers directly in a move that has been lauded. Kenyan farmers now have the ability to sell their produce directly to large commodity companies via the mobile app. The platform ensures that farmers are offered clear, fair and reliable contracts from legitimate buyers. Every activity that involves dealings with customers is done via the app be it contact agreement, crop aggregation, production management, deliver and payment, as well as ensuring full transparency among each party.
The platform can be issued by NGOs like the UN and commercial organizations for training, management, and registration of small scale farmers. It is also useful for keeping up with crop maturity all through the season, early warning of pests and diseases, as well as aggregation and sale to large commodity companies.
The platform is also giving opportunities to women and ensuring they get a fair shake in the economy. According to Jennifer Soltis, portfolio manager of Gray funding, the company behind the funding:
“Women are often excluded from the formal economy in Kenya, and it is difficult for them to find better opportunities or higher-paying work. Farmshine’s platform enables women, who constitute 70 percent of its farmers, to receive significantly higher incomes by providing access to completely transparent pricing information before they plant, as well as the freedom to select the buyer they would like to supply to.”
She went on to say;
“Farmshine’s app records quantity, quality and timeliness of each harvest sold, as well as loan repayments, training received, and other indications of a successful, reliable farmer. Based on this, women will be able to apply for small loans, purchase inputs on credit and access more profitable growth opportunities with the entire agricultural ecosystem in Kenya and beyond.”
With the funding secured, Farmshine hopes to start working with nonprofit partners, expanding into higher value commodities and also providing supermarkets with traceable products for its customers.