Program Overview

Lydia Ndimu Mutua, 35, with her favorite goat. Many women in Lydia’s position aren’t allowed their own resources or decision-making, so the goat is the first thing Lydia has ever owned that is solely hers. She says that gaining access to assets and money is setting women free in her community.

We leverage the prevalence of digital technology to develop digital products and services that smallholder farmers need to increase their productivity, incomes and resilience.

CLIMATE VARIABILITY

80%

〉 of the population in lower-income countries survive on crops grown by small-scale farmers. One fourth of those crops are projected to fail due to the effects of climate change.

FINANCIAL INCLUSION

$170b

〉 is needed to close the financial inclusion gap for the 500 million smallholder farmers around the world. At least 50% of these farmers are women, yet they own less than 20% of the land used to grow our food. 

FUTURE OF FARMING

60%

 of Africa’s population is under the age of 25. Farming could be a profitable opportunity for livelihood – and will be needed to feed a burgeoning population.

AGRIFIN OVERVIEW

We believe that digital innovation can revolutionize the way smallholders farmers feed the world, that’s why, based on years of learning and iterating, we built the AgriFin model to facilitate that process.

Launched in 2012, AgriFin’s primary target group is un-banked smallholder farmers living on less than USD 2 per day. Mobilizing a vast network of partners, AgriFin ensures that the needs of farmers inform the design of partner products and services. Our shared global context is challenging – climate variability and population growth present unprecedented challenges. Yet, our experience tells us that farmers are determined to beat the odds. 

With access to the right tools, smallholder farmers can build the resilience they need against climate and emergency shocks, and continue to feed their communitiesWe know that government and private sector partners are best suited to deliver those tools, and that technology is a critical accelerator. Our aim is to connect smallholder farmers to products and services that increase their productivity and income by 50%, with a 50% target population of Women and Youth.

 

SCALING JOURNEY

Mercy Corps’ AgriFin model has been able to scale and iterate with the support of integral funding, private sector, and government partners who value innovation, learning and impact.

Our private sector and government partners remain committed to smallholder farmers and contribute to a thriving and just food production ecosystem through the development of sustainable services for farmers. And our funding partners have provided the flexible capital needed for AgriFin to evolve our areas of innovation focus, enabling us to pivot with our partners and stay relevant and responsive to emerging farmer needs.

 2012 – 2018

With early stage, flexible funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, AgriFin Mobile gave way to experimentation with seven different partnership models that bundled services for smallholder farmers. AgriFin Mobile aimed to reach 282,000 farmers and ultimately served 2.3 million farmers in Indonesia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. AgriFin honed best practices for the development and implementation of digital service bundling and affirmed the vital process of understanding farmers’ needs and behaviors when designing products and services.

〉 READ ABOUT AGRIFIN MOBILE’S ENGAGEMENT WITH ECONET IN ZIMBABWE

  2015 – 2021

The Mastercard Foundation served as a catalytic innovation partner for AgriFin, enabling Mercy Corps to test the AgriFin model in three geographies with varying levels of digital ecosystem development: Nascent – Zambia; Emerging – Tanzania; and Developed – Kenya. AgriFin Accelerate invested significantly in achieving impact and producing learning at the farmer, institutional, and ecosystem levels. Partner engagements grew in number and innovation area, with over 100 partners engaged. With an original target of 1 million farmers, AgriFin Accelerate has reached more than 3 million farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. 

〉 READ ABOUT AGRIFIN ACCELERATE’S PARTNER ENGAGEMENT WITH SAFARICOM IN KENYA

  2018 – 2020

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested funding that enabled AgriFin to both deepen work in Kenya and Tanzania and expand work to two new geographies, Ethiopia and Nigeria. Through this funding, AgriFin developed its commitment to digital climate smart agriculture. The model also experimented with its deepest government partnership to date, with the Agricultural Transformation Agency of the Government of Ethiopia. With a target of 1 million farmers, to date, we have served 255,000 farmers to date in Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, and reached an additional 625,000 in Kenya.  

READ ABOUT AGRIFIN’S ECOSYSTEM LEARNINGS ON SELECT VALUE CHAINS AND DIGITALLY ENABLED SERVICES IN ETHIOPIA

AgriFin Mobile

2012 – 2018

With early stage, flexible funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, AgriFin Mobile gave way to experimentation with seven different partnership models that bundled services for smallholder farmers. AgriFin Mobile aimed to reach 282,000 farmers and ultimately served 2.3 million farmers in Indonesia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. AgriFin honed best practices for the development and implementation of digital service bundling and affirmed the vital process of understanding farmers’ needs and behaviors when designing products and services.

〉 Read about AgriFin Mobile’s engagement with Econet in Zimbabwe.

AgriFin Accelerate

2015 – 2021

Mastercard Foundation served as a catalytic innovation partner for AgriFin, and enabled Mercy Corps to test the AgriFin model in three geographies with varying levels of digital ecosystem development:  Nascent – Zambia; Emerging – Tanzania; and developed – Kenya. AgriFin Accelerate invested significantly in achieving impact and producing learning at the farmer, institutional, and ecosystem levels. Partner engagements grew in number and innovation area, with over 100 partners engaged. With an original target of 1 million farmers, AgriFin Accelerate has reached more than 3 million farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia

〉 Read about AgriFin Accelerate’s partner engagement with Safaricom in Kenya.

AgriFin Digital Farmer

2018 – 2020

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested funding that enabled AgriFin to both deepen work in Kenya and Tanzania and expand work to two new geographies, Ethiopia and Nigeria. Through this funding, AgriFin developed its commitment to digital climate smart agriculture. The model also experimented with its deepest government partnership to date, with the Agricultural Transformation Agency of the Government of Ethiopia. With a target of 1 million farmers, to date, we have served 255,000 farmers to date in Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, and reached an additional 625,000 in Kenya.  

〉 Read AgriFin’s ecosystem learnings on Select Value Chains and Digitally-Enabled Services in Ethiopia.

WHAT’S NEXT

Equipped with eight years of learning and a vibrant network of partners, the AgriFin model is proven and primed for further expansion. 

AgriFin is expanding its focus to digital climate smart agriculture and creating meaningful employment for youth in agriculture and rural economies, working toward a resilient future of farming for smallholders across Africa and beyond. 

We are determined to scale our impact – deeper in the countries where we work, and wider to new countries where digital ecosystems could readily benefit from our market and partner facilitation model.

Mercy Corps’ reach is extensive – with programs in more than 40 countries around the world, we have an immense platform and relationship network to leverage for the expansion of AgriFin.

To determine our pathway to greater scale, in 2018-19 Mercy Corps undertook extensive analysis to identify geographies where the model would thrive. We assessed 48 low-middle income countries along five key criteria: (1) Demand, (2) Customer Readiness, (3) Supply, (4) Provider Readiness, and (5) Enabling Environment.

This analysis unearthed incredible insight and enabled us to assess and rate contexts against criteria needed to effectively implement the AgriFin model. Needless to say, there is an ample opportunity to engage and strengthen digital ecosystems across the globe.

We do not seek to journey alone. We seek innovation and funding partners who share our bold vision of farmers prospering in an interconnected digital world, empowered by digital solutions and inclusive ecosystems. Together, we will take millions more farmers from subsistence to sustainable.

“If we can be in a position to get the right and relevant information about the weather patterns, we will be more suitably prepared for such conditions. We would also be in a position to plant drought resistant crops while we wait for the rains.” ~Lydia Mutua.