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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…

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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…

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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…

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More capability, less complexity: Farmer Capability channels

Like most small-holder farmers in his area, Jeremiah Njoroge, seen above, actively seeks out useful and relevant information to support his farming enterprise. Radio happens to be top source of this information for him. “I listen to Inooro’s ‘Sauti ya Mkulima’ programme” he says with a satisfactory grin in response to our question. “Sauti ya Mkulima (‘The Voice of the Farmer’ in English) is a radio programme that airs at…

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Driving Digital Inclusion for Smallholders – An Ecosystem Approach

Digital technology can be a powerful tool to reach smallholders with information, market linkages and financial services with extremely low costs at sufficient scale. A recent McKinsey study estimates that mobile and internet technology can drive up to $3 billion in annual agricultural productivity gains by 2025.[i] However, McKinsey points to the specific scale challenge for mobile agriculture services, recommending focus on the full ecosystem around farmers, including warehousing, logistics,…

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Building transparency through digital systems and collaboration with Youth

When Ichagi youth group was formed in 2011, one of the early decisions the group made was to open a bank account where they could hold proceeds from their members’ contributions and from product sales. “This was an important step because we did not want to be like other groups that got destroyed by lack of transparency and accountability,” explains Hilary Muigai, the group secretary. Poultry keeping in Kenya Kenya…

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