By Duncan Miriri
BOMET, Kenya (Reuters) – Rachel Bor’s neighbours chatted, laughed and shared milky tea from her tarnished kettle as they celebrated their most bountiful maize crop yet on her half-acre plot in Kenya’s Rift Valley.
The secret behind the successful harvest was the credit they received to buy better quality seeds, fertiliser and pesticides after enrolling on the Digifarm mobile phone platform, the latest innovation by the region’s biggest telecoms operator, Safaricom
“Since Digifarm came to our area we have been happy. We had not been able to harvest any maize for six years,” said Mercy Rono as she yanked a ripe corn cob from its golden yellow stem.
Safaricom, part-owned by South Africa’s Vodacom
Digifarm bypasses middlemen, giving small-holder farmers direct access to low-cost seeds and fertilizer, credit providers, and bulk purchasers of their produce.
After a successful two-year pilot, during which it registered 1 million farmers of which 42,000 are active, it is on a hiring spree and seeking new logistics partners.
Like Safaricom’s wildly successful M-Pesa, a…
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