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e-Granary platform: an introduction

A presentation by Stephen Muchiri, from Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) and CEO of e-Granary, about a commercial digital platform linking smallholder farmers in East Africa to targeted services.

The e-Granary platform, an ambitious venture initiated by the EAFF is in its relatively early days serving producers in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. It aims to strengthen their position with other actors such as buyers, input traders and financial institutions, and it has generated many lessons and challenges to overcome.

The presentation was given at a webinar on using technology to increase market and finance access for smallholders hosted by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) on 24 March 2020.

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e-Granary platform: an introduction

  1. 1. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. Stephen Muchiri CEO EAFF “Using technology to increase market and finance access for small holders – lessons from East Africa” 24th March 2020
  2. 2. Content 1. Context 2. What affects our agriculture 3. eGranary – business model/updates/current reach/challenges 4. Lessons 5. Partners
  3. 3. Context Why digitize? Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa is very fragmented, its only through a virtual innovation that we can aggregate all farmers and all actors, the eGranary provides a mobile based virtual platform where farmers are aggregated for input markets, output markets, services – finance/ mechanization and extension
  4. 4. What is affecting our agriculture /approach to solution? 2. Lack of Data on Farming (for decision making on – attracting investments & innovations in technology, financing; value addition; advisory services & policy) Farmers have “LOST POWER” in the Market No silver bullet 1. Low Collective action by farmers - joint output marketing; ease of access/provision of services; joint input procurement; efficient technology use/ up-take; phl mgt; poor partnerships; value addition prospects
  5. 5. Mobile Phone • Over 90% mobile penetration • 15% smartphone penetration MPESA (mobile money) • Mobile payment penetration is over 40% of households and growing • >60m Mpesa mobile money users in the region Farmer • 70% of adult population in East Africa works in Agricultural sector Farmer org COOP/self- help group • 3 out of every five EA farmer is a member of a cooperative/farmer org/self-help group etc Mary A TYPICAL FARMER’s PROFILE & CHALLENGES THEY FACE Has... Uses... Is a... Is a member of... 4 major issues they face 1. Market – reliability and consistency 2. Financing & Insurance (credit, payments crop insurance) 3. Resources -inputs, equipment, labour) 4. Knowledge - business finance and agronomic)
  6. 6. e-GRANARY is a mobile based platform that provide 4 in 1 services – aggregates farmers for input, output and services markets (financial, insurance, extension and mechanization). e-GRANARY value proposition is an ecosystem that will benefit ALL the stakeholders that engage on the platform and its various connected services. For Farmers, it will allow the sale of farm produce at the best price, access to certified inputs and affordable tailor made financial solutions. (Farmers have to be formally organized and have expertise/experience in the value chain) For Financial Institutions, it will allow access to bankable and de-risked smallholders to market various financial products. In fact, the loan will be income based while leveraging the group structure in farmer organizations to reduce risk. Insurance is provided as a bundled product with the loan. EAFF shall negotiate on farmer behalf For buyers, it allows access to better quality traceable produce in a large marketplace at competitive price without the exorbitant premium charged by middle man currently. EAFF negotiates prices and contracts at start of the season eGranary - BUSINESS MODEL VALUE PROPOSITION FOR STAKEHOLDERS
  7. 7. It’s imperative to note, however, the following: 1. Technology is not a silver bullet 2. We need to build the (e-Granary) technology on a sound and feasible business plan 3. We need to invest a lot on relationships that are not tech-based – between farmers, between their organizations, with other actors; if these relationships add value then the technology will add additional value 4. The business model must be market oriented – so that along the chain down to the farmer we can build targets which if met will make the entire chain sustainable 5. The eGranary platform thus will generate data that can be used to inform specific and general policy, negotiate better engagements terms with offtakers, lower transaction costs for acquisition of clients by credit and insurance companies, enhance effective delivery of extension services. eGranary - BUSINESS MODEL
  8. 8. BUSINESS MODEL - CORE SERVICES PROVIDED TO FARMERS Crop Management Knowledge and Tools Organizing Learning Groups Policy and advocacy Group Purchase of Agriculture Inputs Coordination of Contract Farming with Millers / Buyers Coordination of Post- Harvest Services Coordination of Farm Equipment Leasing Micro-finance and Micro-insurance
  9. 9. Current reach • Kenya (240,000 farmers registered – maize, beans, soya bean, green grams); Uganda (15,000 farmers registered – maize, beans, soya bean, sim sim) and >5000 now registered in Rwanda for Maize and beans • We are currently reviewing our service delivery model in partnership with the Institute for sustainable development (IDH) • Biggest hurdle so far is the financial services partner, because of collateral demand ( in Kenya was up to 40% of loan value; now its 10%, in Uganda it was 14%) and interest rates – in Kenya was as high as 36%. So far only a Micro- Finance institution has been working with us.
  10. 10. Challenges 1. Technology and other set ups are slow e.g. in Uganda and Rwanda it took 8 months – we needed to do regulatory studies, in-country hosting set up, USSD acquisition, partner set up, Human resources set up. 2. Farmer coordination to generate homogenous data can be a challenge 3. Synchronizing the different partners resulted in delays say in delivery of inputs, collection of harvest, etc 4. Quality of final product – high moisture content/ afflatoxin/ poor grading 5. Price fluctuations due to government directive on pricing, market glut due to imports 6. Repayment defaults by farmers sometimes due to climate change, group governance
  11. 11. LESSONS LEARNT TO DATE  Reliable Markets and certified inputs access is a major concern for farmers across all the regions we are operating and farmers are eager to be part of program offering a solution in these two areas.  Important lessons on maize procurement pattern that informs production planning.  Climate change is a challenge and an opportunity to innovate financial solutions like insurance /credit  Group guarantee is instrumental to build trust and the success of the program (20:80 approach).  Bundling services reduces transaction costs, therefore adding value to farmers margins  Having a “farmer organization” important to mobilize partnerships, negotiate better terms (prices/ compensations, aggregation etc)  Farmers are willing and able to payback loans if appropriately priced and structured 12 Credit  There is increased demand for insurance by farmers  Awareness on insurance and trust building is required with farmers  Insurance is best delivered when bundled with input loans Insurance Overall
  12. 12. PARTNERS
  13. 13. CONTACTS:; 205 David osieli road, Westlands Nairobi -KENYA Tel: +254 20 445 1691