2017 AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) Learning Outcomes Highlighted at 2nd Annual Learning Event

The Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) program seeks to address the financial inclusion gap for smallholder farmers with greater access to affordable, accessible, and demand-driven financial products and services. As part of AFA’s 2nd Annual Learning Event, taking place in Nairobi, Kenya on 31 January 2018, AFA is releasing a wide range of blogs and documents highlighting its program and learning outcomes from the past year in Kenya, Zambia, and…

Read more

Don’t Lose the Plot

Reality TV ‘edutainment’ series Don’t Lose the Plot engages youth to see farming as a business through digital media and tools As the average age of African farmers rises above 40 years, countries are faced with the question of how to cultivate the next generation of food growers. Knowing that youth are drawn to digital technologies and social media, the Mercy Corps Agrifin Accelerate (AFA) Program collaborated with the Mediae…

Read more

Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia – Part 2

NOTE: This post is a continuation of the Blog Series, Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia. See below for links to other parts in this series. A Seasonal Mapping of Zambian Women Smallholder Farmers’ Major Activities, Expenses, and Earnings The lives and financial health of women smallholder farmers in Zambia are largely governed by the annual planting and harvesting of maize, which is grown by 80% of the country’s farmers…

Read more

Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia – Part 1

NOTE: This post is part of the Blog Series: Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia. See below for links to other parts in this series. Financial Inclusion: What is the Status for Women Smallholder Farmers in Zambia? Women smallholder farmers are some of the most financially underserved people in Zambia. Countrywide, 42.6% of women are financially excluded compared to 38.8% of men. Of those who have no access to formal financial…

Read more

Supply side constraints to rural agent network viability in Zambia

4 lessons from a global scan By Andrew Karlyn, Strategy & Insights Lead, AgriFin Accelerate Rural-dominated markets, particularly across Africa, face significant challenges in finding a growth pathway for digital financial services.  Zambia is one such market and with a population of 16 million, 60% of Zambians live in rural areas. Yet despite high penetration of financial inclusion (60%), active use of DFS in Zambia lags at 35% 90-day usage.…

Read more

Inside Story: Zambia Small-Holder Cotton Farmers

Of Bulk and Benefit: Lessons from Promoting Digital Payments among Cotton Ginners in Zambia Summary Digital bulk payments is a potential catalyst for financial inclusion for small holder farmers Cotton represents an important cash crop for rural Zambian small-holders Digitization efforts to date have met limited success A business requirements approach to digitization resulted in 8,229 farmers trained, and 477 new mobile money accounts Adoption lagged however, due to last-minute…

Read more


The Art of Behavior Change

“We have always done it this way,” is the answer we received from a young poultry farmer in Athi River, a small town outside Kenya’s capital Nairobi, when we asked her why her chicken coop was a particular height. Further discussion around farming methods revealed she was willing to change her farming practices if she had access to reliable and convenient sources of information. This statement resonates with many of…

Read more


The Potato Trade: From the middle-man’s perspective

Potatoes are the second most important crop in Kenya, after maize. They are grown by approximately 800,000 farmers, 98% of whom are smallholders and are mostly women.  Smallholders grow on less than 1 hectare and produce 83% of the countries production, according to the National Potato Council of Kenya.  Smallholders sell approximately 80% of their potatoes to mostly urban markets, and 70% of potatoes sold are chipped and served as…

Read more


Is the time ripe for Agricultural e-commerce in Kenya? Four signals to watch.

Most entrepreneurs will tell you that apart from luck and financing, the right timing for launching a product is the final spice that makes the meal rewarding. While catching up on my tech reading I stumbled on a book authored by Porter Erisman on the rise of Alibaba, ‘Alibaba’s World’, and in reflection I found many intersections with the key themes discussed and the current context we find ourselves in…

Read more


Seven insights from Kenyan Value Added Service Providers delivering digital solutions to small holder farmers

Finding viable solutions to deliver financial and non-financial digital services to Kenyan small holder farmers may sometimes feel comparable to discovering the lost city of Atlantis. Both pursuits, led by explorers enamored with fulfilling activities, often conclude in more failures than successes. Fortunately, there are many Kenyan explorers: AFA’s Ecosystem Review uncovered at least 125 potentially sustainable technology firms that aim to offer a range of digital solutions that may…

Read more