FarmShine, a Kenyan Agritech startup that connects farmers with information and suppliers, has raised $250, 000 (KES 25.5M) to expand the team and further develop the platform.
FarmShine connects farmers with information, suppliers, and service providers by eliminating layers of middlemen through a traceable and transparent distributed value chain giving farmers the information and contacts they need to access markets at a low cost.
The FarmShine platform now allows farmers to sell their produce directly to large commodity companies via the mobile app which ensures that farmers are offered clear, fair, and reliable contracts from legitimate buyers.
Every activity takes place through the app – including contract agreement, production management, crop aggregation, and delivery and payment – ensuring full transparency among each party.
The platform can be used by NGOs like the UN and commercial organizations for the registration, training and management of smallholder farmers; monitoring of crop growth and field activities throughout the growing season; early warning of plant pests and diseases; and aggregation and sale to large commodity companies.
According to Jennifer Soltis, Portfolio Manager, Gray Matters, the company behind the funding:
“Women are often excluded from the formal economy in Kenya, and it is difficult for them to find better opportunities or higher-paying work.”
“Farmshine’s platform enables women, who constitute 70 percent of its farmers, to receive significantly higher incomes by providing access to completely transparent pricing information before they plant, as well as the freedom to select the buyer they would like to supply to.”
“Farmshine’s app records quantity, quality and timeliness of each harvest sold, as well as loan repayments, training received, and other indications of a successful, reliable farmer. Based on this, women will be able to apply for small loans, purchase inputs on credit and access more profitable growth opportunities with the entire agricultural ecosystem in Kenya and beyond.”
With the secured funding, FarmShine hopes to start working with non-profit partners, expanding into higher-value commodities, and providing supermarkets with traceable products for its customers.