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4th Annual Learning Event

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Building Zambia’s first Digital Financial Services Platform for smallholder farmers

Mercy Corps’ AgriFin Accelerate program worked with the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO), as an innovation partner by developing a farmer-centric product, business modelling, and brokering relevant partnerships to launch…

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Promoting Smallholder Uptake, Adoption and Referral of Soil Testing Services

What are the factors that drive soil testing and subsequent uptake of soil treatment recommendations by smallholders? Read the full report and infographic. Yields and production of smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa…

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6 Strategies to Promote Digital Financial Product Adoption Among Youth

HaloYako is a digitally enabled saving service in Tanzania offered by Halotel in partnership with FINCA Microfinance Bank and supported in part by Mercy Corps Agrifin Accelerate, a partner of the Mastercard Foundation. HaloYako allows users…

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Youth in Agriculture: A New Generation Leverages Technology

Youth don’t often see a future in agriculture. This is even the case in Kenya, where about 65 percent of the population lives in rural areas, and 70 percent of…

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Measuring the DigiFarm Impact: Initial Insights from the Randomised Control Study

The first experiment (Sample I) studies the MVP solution and randomly divides a sample of 3,152 households into four groups: MVP encouragement only, MVP and M-SHWARI encouragements, M-SHWARI encouragement only,…

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From traditional classroom learning to household tablet learning: The Smallholders’ Capacity Building Solution?

The growing penetration of digital technology in Tanzania is reaching even low-income populations, providing access to individuals who were previously excluded from digital financial services such as payments, savings, loans…

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Building the DigiFarm Innovation Platform – The Journey to One Million Farmers

How did a pioneering mobile money provider become a change agent for the world’s smallholder farmers? This is the question that Safaricom and the Vodafone Group asked Mercy Corps’ AgriFin…

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Marketing Agriculture Micro-Insurance through Rural Social Networks

A case study of Pula’s referral program to drive adoption of Chilala Insurance in Zambia and Malawi. Read/download the full Case Study report, here. Poor weather, pests and diseases, and…

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Climate-smart Agriculture: Solar Powered Pumps Empower Women Farmers

‘When women benefit from irrigation technologies, this can lead to improved household nutrition and health’ , Elizabeth Bryan and Hagar ElDidi, IFPRI. Christine Wajiru, 66 years-old, lives on a 1-acre farm in rural…

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An Expanded Perspective of the Farm to Market Alliance

Delivering on digital solutions for smallholder farmers in Africa is a task that the FtMA has boldly accepted. The FtMA is a public-private sector led consortium of actors seeking to…

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Quick Wins for Digital Agriculture: Why Digitizing Aggregation Centers is a Fast Path to Long-Term Impact for Smallholders

When exploring opportunities in the digital agriculture ecosystem, discussion often focuses on buzzworthy technologies like the internet of things, artificial intelligence, blockchain and satellite imagery. There is no doubt that…

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Persona-based Pathways for Driving Growth and Success for Youth in Agriculture

Digital services can capitalize on the growing market of youth in agriculture through segmentation that takes into account their varying needs, priorities, and potentials. Read the full case study here. What…

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Creating Impact and Scale For Young Farmers – What We’ve Learned

Digital solutions work for youth in agriculture. They are cost effective and can empower young farmers at scale, for impacts, and on their own terms. Read the full case study here.…

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Farmer Capability Lab: A Case of Double-Sided Returns

Studies have identified farmer capability as a key constraint to the adoption and use of financial services and digital tools by smallholder farmers. The Farmer Capability Lab approach aims to…

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Leveraging AMCOS to scale Digital Financial Services – Insights from Tanzania’s cashew value chain

Tanzania’s Cashew Model Read the full case study here. How can Agricultural Marketing Co-operative Societies (AMCOS) be further leveraged as a channel for increased access and utilisation, and what should…

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For Women Smallholders in Zambia, Financial Inclusion is Not “One-Size-Fits-All”

NOTE: This post is a continuation of the Blog Series, Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia. See below for links to other parts in this series. The financial resilience and…

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Super Platforms: Connecting Farmers to Markets in Africa

Note: This post was first published on CGAP Blog as part of the series: Platform Economy: What it means for Financial Inclusion. See the original post here. Read the detailed…

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Who Influences Women Smallholder Farmers in Zambia?

NOTE: This post is a continuation of the Blog Series, Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia. See below for links to other parts in this series. Do Service Touch-Points Increase…

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Promoting Digital Engagement of Women Farmers

How should Digital Financial and Information Services Target Women Farmers to Increase their Productivity? AFA is continuously learning about and improving strategies to reach women with digital financial and information…

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Improving Rural Connectivity in East Africa

PART 1: Designing a Rural Connectivity Hub Model On April 10th, 2018, AgriFin Accelerate was excited to host an ideation workshop in Nairobi to engage leading market experts on the…

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Don’t Lose the Plot

Reality TV ‘edutainment’ series Don’t Lose the Plot engages youth to see farming as a business through digital media and tools As the average age of African farmers rises above…

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2017 AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) Learning Outcomes Highlighted at 2nd Annual Learning Event

Download the 2018 ALE Synthesis Report here. The second Kenya Annual Learning Event (ALE) by MercyCorps’ AgriFin Accelerate Program gathered distinguished speakers, guests and peers – on January 31, 2018 at the…

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Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia – Part 2

NOTE: This post is a continuation of the Blog Series, Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia. See below for links to other parts in this series. A Seasonal Mapping of…

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Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia – Part 1

NOTE: This post is part of the Blog Series: Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia. See below for links to other parts in this series. Financial Inclusion: What is the Status…

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Supply side constraints to rural agent network viability in Zambia

4 lessons from a global scan By Andrew Karlyn, Strategy & Insights Lead, AgriFin Accelerate Rural-dominated markets, particularly across Africa, face significant challenges in finding a growth pathway for digital…

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Inside Story: Zambia Small-Holder Cotton Farmers

Of Bulk and Benefit: Lessons from Promoting Digital Payments among Cotton Ginners in Zambia Summary Digital bulk payments is a potential catalyst for financial inclusion for small holder farmers Cotton…

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The Art of Behavior Change

“We have always done it this way,” is the answer we received from a young poultry farmer in Athi River, a small town outside Kenya’s capital Nairobi, when we asked…

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The Potato Trade: From the middle-man’s perspective

Potatoes are the second most important crop in Kenya, after maize. They are grown by approximately 800,000 farmers, 98% of whom are smallholders and are mostly women.  Smallholders grow on…

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Is the time ripe for Agricultural e-commerce in Kenya? Four signals to watch.

Most entrepreneurs will tell you that apart from luck and financing, the right timing for launching a product is the final spice that makes the meal rewarding. While catching up…

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Seven insights from Kenyan Value Added Service Providers delivering digital solutions to small holder farmers

Finding viable solutions to deliver financial and non-financial digital services to Kenyan small holder farmers may sometimes feel comparable to discovering the lost city of Atlantis. Both pursuits, led by…

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Agricultural Market systems failure may lead to low demand for financial services by Smallholder farmers

An agricultural market system includes the full range of products, services and relationships such as access to finance, inputs, information, formal and informal rules, policies and logistics, buyers and so…

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Kenyan Farmers Go Digital

I decided to give it (digital marketing) a try after I saw it being advertised on television, and to my surprise it worked!” Says Cornelius Kiptoo, a 26 year old…

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More capability, less complexity: Farmer Capability channels

Like most small-holder farmers in his area, Jeremiah Njoroge, seen above, actively seeks out useful and relevant information to support his farming enterprise. Radio happens to be top source of…

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MoMo and the Small Holder Farmer (MoMo – Mobile Money)

Mobile Money aka MoMo was conceived in 2007 in Kenya. Earlier close relatives in East Africa and distant relatives in Asia, such as Smart Money in the Philippines, had begun…

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Driving Digital Inclusion for Smallholders – An Ecosystem Approach

Digital technology can be a powerful tool to reach smallholders with information, market linkages and financial services with extremely low costs at sufficient scale. A recent McKinsey study estimates that…

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Building transparency through digital systems and collaboration with Youth

When Ichagi youth group was formed in 2011, one of the early decisions the group made was to open a bank account where they could hold proceeds from their members’…

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Does SMS work?

SMS or Short Messaging Service has been in use as a marketing and learning tool for years now. Many organizations have used this mode of communication to try to create…

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Smallholder farmers and commercial bank loans: “Why I may never take a loan”

“Last year, a bank offered me a loan of USD 2,100 but I declined,” says Anne Bett, a dairy farmer from Lessos in Nandi County, in the Rift Valley of…

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Satellite imagery in the agricultural sector in Kenya: What happens next?

With increasing need to improve the output from farm land and the quality of farm produce, many initiatives have been utilized to improve the agricultural sector. The initiatives normally encompass…

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Different Farmers, same location, different coping mechanisms

Meet Philomena Njoki a cheerful mother of thirteen and grandmother of many children, one of who sits on her lap while the others mill around her as we talk. Philomena,…

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Inclusive Financial Sector Development in Fragility – Affected Africa

Mercy Corps has released the new research report “Financing the Frontier: Inclusive Financial Sector Development in Fragility-Affected Africa” commissioned by Financial Sector Deepening Africa and supported by the UK Department…

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