Unlocking and Scale agricultural services in the last mile

Kuza participated in the Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate’s 4th Annual Learning Event (ALE) held on the 3rd of December 2019 in Nairobi. The AgriFin Accelerate Program seeks to improve income, productivity, and resilience for more than 1 million smallholder farmers by supporting scalable digital financial services and agriculture innovation through partnerships in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Going with the overarching theme of “Technology Disruptions & Agriculture Systems” there were multiple informative and interactive discussions around design, scalability, and sustainability of digital platforms for empowering smallholder farmers and experience sharing by the ecosystem stakeholders.

Kuza was represented by its Founder & Chief Mentor, Sriram Bharatam who participated in the session Scaling market access to the last-mile.  Other digital innovators were Hillary (Tulaa), Benjamin (Apollo), Jehiel (Hello Tractor), Caine (Twiga), Sebastian (FtMA), Elizabeth (DigiFarm), Rosemary (Smart Logistics).

The key topic of discussion was to “Re-imagine the role of the middleman & disruptions in last-mile logistics and distribution: How do we unlock and scale agricultural financial services & investments?

Following rapid-fire introductions of the innovators, the session broke out into a Human Centred Design (HCD) workshop in which breakout groups used last-mile entry points to iterate solutions to real-life scaling problems related to middlemen. Some of the key questions that were discussed included: How do we drive scale and economies of scale, how does the solution re-imagine the role of the middleman, and how does the solution disrupt last-mile logistics and distribution?

Kuza presented its Agripreneur program and the way rural youth were incubated and set up as independent Agribusiness owners. On being incubated, the Agripreneurs offer rural advisory & information services (RAISE) using Kuza portable digital kits and offer services to a cohort of 150 to 200 smallholder farmers. The Kuza One digital platform further facilitates mutually beneficial commercial transactions between the Agripreneur and the smallholder farmers.