Farmshine’s agriculture operating system enables smallholder farmers to aggregate and sell their harvests directly to large commodity companies. This has not been possible in the past because there was no way to exchange accurate information on buyers’ contract offers, or to ensure the trust needed for buyers and farmers to engage in such a contract. Combined with on-the-ground support from Farmshine’s field officers, our mobile app ensures that farmers are offered clear, fair and reliable contracts from legitimate buyers. Every activity takes place through the app – including contract agreement, production management, crop aggregation, and delivery and payment – ensuring full transparency among each party.
In order to reach more farmers in less time, Farmshine has begun licensing its platform to other development organizations, including private companies, UN/NGOs and county governments. Under this model, our licensing partners use Farmshine’s platform to manage and monitor the farmers supported by their projects. The ultimate goal remains helping farmers to trade higher quantities of crops for more money. Using Farmshine’s platform to align farmers’ production with the demand generated through our buyer network makes this possible.
Livelihood impact: Smallholder farmers (around 70% of whom are women) are generally excluded from the formal economy in East Africa, and it is difficult for them to find better opportunities or higher paying work. In addition to helping farmers sell more crops at better prices, our platform provides farmers with an economic identity and trade history. Farmshine’s app records the quantity and quality of each harvest sold, as well as loan repayments, trainings received, and other indications of a successful, reliable farmer. Based on this record, the farmers can apply for small loans, access more profitable market opportunities with our buyers, and purchase inputs on credit. This identity and trade history is a vital enabling factor for farmers to look beyond their farm and the local markets, and to connect with the entire agricultural ecosystem.
Environmental impact: Farmshine’s field officers providing training to farmers on the principles of conservation agriculture. CA contributes to higher crop yields and organic matter in the soil, while helping to conserve water resources. Farmers also restore fertility to the soil by planting leguminous crops, which contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their roots. These measures help farmers to adapt to unpredictable rainfall and changing weather patterns. Furthermore, by adopting the practice of no-till agriculture, farmers are able to plant on larger quantities of land with the same amount of effort.