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2016 at a glance: Bridging technology and agriculture

We are days from bidding adieu to 2016. It has been an intense year for Sokopepe. The social enterprise is now working with 16,300 farmers. Last year when we launched the inaugural Agriculture Production Report 2015 (APR 2015), we were working with 5,400 small-scale farmers in 5 sub Counties in Meru County while this year we have covered all the 9 sub counties.

Sokopepe is supporting the agricultural sector in Kenya by offering market information (SOKO+) and farm records management information system (FARMIS) through information and Communication technologies (ICTs).

Launched in April 2014, the social enterprise is addressing the lack of accurate production, marketing and operational data in agriculture and limited access to finance and other services to farmers as well as low food production in Meru County.

Sokopepe work in 2016

2016 at a glance

During the year, we were keen to increase opportunities for smallholder farmers through partnerships. Partnering with seven (7) agricultural service/product providers has helped to enhance good agricultural practices and to provide economical, effective and sustainable agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers.

We also increased our commitment to improve the income of smallholder farmers by unlocking financial markets through partnerships. We laid a lot of emphasis on financial inclusion. We partnered with micro finance institutions to build financial literacy for smallholder farmers as well as their financial capabilities. Already we have linked 211 unbanked farmers to micro finance institutions.

We are glad that we are contributing to the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This became obvious when we won the Microsoft ICT Innovation Awards under Agriculture category during the Connected Summit. The award recognised Sokopepe as a start-up that meets Kenya’s blueprint vision to build a vibrant middle-income economy by the year 2030.

Special thanks goes to our farmers for giving us a chance to work with them. It has been a humbling experience hearing testimonies from them. It has been a pleasure hearing from farmers whom we have linked to markets, micro finance institutions and other value chain actors. Such testimonies have reinforced our thinking that farm records are key in agribusiness.

We established 10 demonstration farms during the year. Our demonstration farms allow farmers to see, hear, discuss, participate and learn by doing, as most farmers believe that ‘seeing is believing.’

Sokopepe staff

Sokopepe staff

We were keen on social inclusion during the year. We helped increase participation of more than 8,000 women in crops selection, adoption of agricultural innovations and good management practices.  The women farmers now have better control of their economic destinies as they have increased their productivity and profitability.

This month we released the first issue of Sokopepe Newsletter. Through the newsletter, we are documenting and sharing best practices among farmers to spur adoption of FARMIS and other ICT4Ag innovations as well as encouraging more actors to join the agriculture transformation.

Our network of Production Information Agents (PIAs) who are the people who are in touch with farmers every day and they support them with advisory services have played a pivotal role in ensuring a great year for us. The PIAs are instrumental in providing farm record keeping data, demand-driven extension services, and boosting farmer’s access to information.

Our work this year would not have been possible without the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Kenya Feed Innovation Engine, which has supported the piloting of FARMIS innovation in the nine sub-counties of Meru County.

Special thanks also goes to all our partners. We hope that we will continue working together in 2017 to make a difference in farmer’s lives. Working together will ensure we develop stronger value chains and systems that lead to improved income for smallholder farmers.

These being the last blog post in 2016, we would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The glory and beauty of this wonderful season are something we all can share together. God bless you all.

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By Bob Aston | Monday, December 19th, 2016 | 3 Comments | Tags : Agriculture Farmis Soko+ Markets

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