techfortrade today announced that it has signed a social investment agreement with Kenyan agri-business software company, MFarm Kenya. The investment will support the development of MFarm’s innovative mobile service designed to improve poor smallholder farmer livelihoods by enabling them to group together to secure potential buyers.
The service has been operating as a pilot in Kinangop in the Nyandarua district of Kenya since mid-2011 and is already supporting over 2,000 farmers. John Nderitu, one of the farmers using the service said,
“I am very happy now that I can sell my commodity directly to the buyer. After calculating my cost of production and seeing the cost of selling, the profit margin is up compared to when I was selling through middlemen.”
The MFarm investment is the first of a small number planned by the charity as part of a targeted programme. The investments will provide early stage businesses working in developing markets with hybrid grant and ‘patient’ loan investment, together with direct support. This hands-on approach includes assistance with business planning, independent impact and outcomes evaluation, and the opportunity to participate in a peer learning group.
techfortrade Chief Executive William Hoyle said, “These investments are about alleviating poverty by improving trading opportunities for some of the world’s poorest producers, while building capacity in local enterprise to provide innovative and sustainable solutions.”
MFarm founding Director Jamila Abass commented, “The MFarm team is not only excited about the investment, but also the support and structure that techfortrade is putting in place for us. This will help us to grow and give MFarm the ability to have an impact on thousands — if not millions — of farmers’ lives.”