Learning & Research

Matheka Munyao, 57, uses his mobile phone in front of his house. After the spring rains failed this year, Matheka lost many of his crops. Through the AgriFin program, Matheka was able to successfully grow sunflower last year and, because the platform linked him to a commercial buyer at harvest time, he earned new income that enabled him to pay his children’s school fees.

Learning is one of our key objectives. We capture evidence and practical use cases at the intersection of technology, finance, and agriculture to drive innovation across the agri-fin-tech ecosystem

Position

〉 We are positioned at the apex of the emerging fields of digital finance and Climate-Smart Agriculture. 

Commitment

〉 We aim to serve as an information resource related to digitally-enabled services for smallholder farmers.

Approach

〉 This includes documenting and sharing our program learning, research and impact along our journey.

LEARNING QUESTIONS

Our learning questions gather insights from three pillars: the client, institution and ecosystem levels. They are informed by the collection of ‘lean data’ and the ‘Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development indicators formulated with our core commercial partners around specific interventions to deliver digital solutions to smallholders.

Client Level
  • What financial and value-added services do SHFs, including women and youth, value most and why?
  • How does bundling of products or services impact uptake and usage of digital financial services?
  • What capability building tools have highest impact on SHF willingness and ability to use?
  • What distribution channels are most effective for delivery of digitally-enabled financial and non-financial services to SHFs?
Institution Level
  • How and to what extent have AFA-supported partners been successful in achieving scale and commercial sustainability?
  • What are the main drivers of success and failure of different partnerships and approaches?
Ecosystem Level
  • What ecosystem features are most important for success and expansions of digital solutions for agriculture?
  • How can market intelligence, convening, dissemination, and partnerships help to shape these ecosystem features and “crowd in” activity in the space?

“We are encouraged [by the information available through our mobile phones]. If you don’t know the type of seed to use, you can know. If you don’t know the type of medicine to use, you can know. If you don’t know the type of fertilizer to use, you can know. If you don’t know the spray to use, you can know.”  ~Matheka Munyao.

IMPACT RESEARCH

AgriFin Accelerate, in partnership with Safaricom Ltd, launched its flagship product, DigiFarm, in 2015. DigiFarm is a platform tailored for smallholder farmers that offers access to information, quality agricultural inputs, financial services such as savings and credit products, digital supply chain management, extension services and access to markets. To measure AgriFin’s impact at the farmer level, we have commissioned two rigorous research studies on DigiFarm:

DigiFarm Impact Assessment

At the institutional and ecosystem levels, we are kicking off several agile impact studies to be conducted in 2020 on partner engagements covering aspects on financial services, farmer capability, smart farming, rural advisory, market access, logistics and distribution. The impact assessment will employ a ‘difference in differences’ design. 

DigiFarm RCT

At the farmer level, we commissioned a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) to test exposure to the different service offerings available on DigiFarm. The RCT was designed in partnership with Georgetown University’s Initiative on Innovation, Development and Evaluation (gui2de). It will enable us compare the effect of those using DigiFarm products in isolation, or as a bundle with other products, while considering the return on investment. 

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AGRIFIN MERL

We conduct program Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) to understand the link between activities, outputs and outcomes at the client, partner and ecosystem level and their link to achieving program impact. The below graphic illustrates how the MERL objectives will be carried out, by linking our results framework and design, through to the activities and key learning questions, through to the learning process itself and how insights and lessons are disseminated to have wider impact.