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Innovation drives growth for Kenyan entrepreneurs

Editor’s Note: Ahead of the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama, The MasterCard Centre for Inclusive Growth asked the Grameen Foundation to showcase how the combination of micro financing, technology and innovation is helping Kenyan entrepreneurs within the farming sector.

Transformation in Kenya’s farming sector, as dairy farmers adopt digital financing solution

One of the biggest challenges facing many farmers in developing countries is getting access to markets to sell their produce. Dairy farmers in Kenya face an entirely different problem, access to assets that will help grow their enterprise.

Though Kenya’s dairy sector is well organized, most small-scale farmers do not own good quality cows or take care of their animals as required due to the lack of funds. The result has been poor milk yields and lower incomes.

It is often difficult for farmers to gain access to quality dairy cows.  The well-known breeders, that handle only purebreds, sell these animals for more than what small-scale farmers can afford.

Dorcas Wanjiru lives in Central Kenya, a rich agricultural area that is heavily vested in dairy farming. Like her neighbors, she farms a small plot of land – less than an acre. She focuses on dairy because her two cows do not require a lot of space and it provides her with a more reliable income than her crops.

Until last November, Dorcas and other farmers had few options for getting the financing they needed to purchase the quality cows that they needed.  Grameen Foundation, funded by The MasterCard Centre for Inclusive Growth, along with a local bank, has developed a new loan product that makes access to these cows possible, and the solution is currently being introduced in several districts.

In addition to the loan product, the Foundation has also developed an easy-to-use solution with the help from a technology firm, the online market portal for dairy farmers will help them to find their perfect cows.  The portal saves them time, as physical markets are not always easy to get too especially for rural farmers.

Interestingly, the cows are first evaluated by a qualified vet, vaccinated and insured before listing on the dairy market portal, and are available for selection through the bank’s branches.  Moreover, the product is bundled with information that is geared towards empowering the dairy farms with practical skills.  These additional benefits help to guarantee the quality of the cow, which is the farmers collateral for the loan.

By giving Dorcas and other small-scale farmer’s access to this type of solution we hope to transform and strengthen the sector, helping these entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.