On an otherwise reasonable evening, more than 1,000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder, Colorado, for the culmination of the 2012 Unreasonable Institute. They came to see 23 ventures present their solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.
Jamila Abass CEO and Co-Founder of M-Farm is giving farmers transparent market price information, aggregates their farm input needs and creates market linkages.
What is the urgent social or environmental need you’re addressing?
According to IFAD, about 79 percent of Kenya’s population lives in rural areas and relies on agriculture for
most of its income. The poorest communities living in these areas are small scale farmers
and farm laborers who lack access to information. This results in exploitation by the middlemen who take advantage of the lack of transparency in the market. Secondly,markets are inaccessible for these farmers since they have little produce that can only be sold at the local markets or to brokers who buy it at throwaway prices. Thirdly,they have difficulties accessing affordable farm inputs which hinders their yield.
What is your solution to this need? Describe your business strategy.
M-Farm enables farmers inquire about the current prices of different crops in specific markets throughout Kenya. Up-to-date market information empowers farmers as they bargain for a fair price with middlemen and purchasers.
The M-Farm system provides farmers a group selling service where they can connect with other farmers from the neighborhood to jointly market crops in greater volume, helping rural farmers access large-scale local and international markets. Farmers often need to have large quantities of produce available in a short time frame in order to sell to exporters and large-scale retailers. Farmers also get connected to suppliers and, through collective buying power, get significant discounts on farming inputs such as seeds, fertilizer.