How to Join DigiFarm and Apply for a Loan

Discover how to join DigiFarm, an innovative platform by Safaricom, and apply for a loan. Empowering smallholder farmers in Kenya through digitization and financial services

Sep 4, 2023 - 15:35
Sep 4, 2023 - 15:39
How to Join DigiFarm and Apply for a Loan
How to Join DigiFarm and Apply for a Loan

In the modern age, where technology revolutionizes industries, Safaricom, a leading telecommunications company, took on the mission of transforming smallholder farming through its innovative platform, DigiFarm. Launched in October 2017, DigiFarm aims to enrich the lives of small-scale farmers across Kenya by providing them access to crucial information, financial services, and market opportunities. This article delves into the comprehensive guide on how to join DigiFarm and apply for a loan, exploring its features, benefits, and impact on farmers' lives.

Key Takeaways from the Article:

  1. DigiFarm, launched by Safaricom, aims to revolutionize smallholder farming in Kenya through digitization and financial empowerment.
  2. Partnerships with FarmDrive and Procure are crucial in providing credit scores to farmers and facilitating loans.
  3. DigiFarm has registered over 700,000 farmers and has distributed over 10,000 loans, totaling 76 million shillings.
  4. The step-by-step process for joining DigiFarm involves dialing *283# and registering using your ID and farm details.
  5. DigiFarm's loans are tailored to farmers' needs, with repayment options ranging from 30 to 90 days.

Potential of Smallholder Farmers

DigiFarm was conceived with a clear vision – to uplift the lives of smallholder farmers who have long been underserved by modern technology. The journey of DigiFarm began when Fredrick Kiio, M-Agri Business lead at Safaricom, recognized the stagnant state of small-scale farming. Kiio remarked, "We sort to answer why the smallholder farmer has remained the same. That was the genesis of why we got into farming." This realization propelled Safaricom to embark on a mission to reshape the agricultural landscape.

Empowering Farmers through Digitization

DigiFarm represents a holistic approach to digitizing the entire agriculture value chain. From profiling farmers to connecting them with buyers, DigiFarm is a one-stop platform. The first step towards this transformation is farm profiling, which guides farmers on suitable crops based on soil analysis. This eliminates guesswork and fosters informed decisions. Knowledge becomes the cornerstone of wealth creation. DigiFarm provides farmers valuable insights into farming practices, crop timings, and location-specific recommendations.

DigiFarm's partnerships with FarmDrive and Procure are pivotal to its success. FarmDrive's big data model assigns credit scores to farmers based on historical farm data, opening doors to much-needed loans. These loans, tailored to different value chains, enable farmers to invest in their ventures without financial constraints. Over 10,000 loans have been granted, totaling a remarkable 76 million shillings in input sales.

Digging into DigiFarm's Ecosystem

DigiFarm's multi-faceted approach includes the establishment of depots – strategically located shops stocking farm inputs. These depots leverage technology to cater to demand and ensure farmers can access quality inputs. As the circle completes, DigiFarm addresses the issue of post-harvest losses and limited access to markets. Through initiatives like DigiSoko, farmers can directly connect with buyers, bridging the gap that previously led to food shortages in urban areas.

The success story of DigiFarm's impact is reflected in its numbers. With over 700,000 registered farmers across nine Kenyan counties, the platform has made substantial progress. This transformation has earned DigiFarm nicknames like 'M-Pesa ya mkulima,' resonating with its aim of making farmers prosperous through technology.

Joining DigiFarm: Step by Step

The process of joining DigiFarm and reaping its benefits is straightforward. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Dial *283# on your Safaricom mobile phone.
  2. Choose the 'register' option from the menu.
  3. Enter your ID number.
  4. Confirm your ward's name.
  5. Select your specialized agricultural product.
  6. Choose your farm size.
  7. Confirm your details and value chain.
  8. Receive a confirmation SMS with terms and conditions and a member number.

DigiFarm Loans

A defining feature of DigiFarm is its financial empowerment of farmers. Leveraging data-driven insights, DigiFarm offers loans tailored to farmers' needs. Eligibility requirements include being a farmer above 18, subscribing to DigiFarm, and consenting to FarmDrive to access your information. Once eligible, you can apply for a loan following FarmDrive's appraisal process, with repayment options ranging from 30 to 90 days.

DigiFarm's Expanding Horizon

DigiFarm's reach extends far and wide. With a network of 1,500 field experts known as DigiFarm Village Advisors, personalized support is just a touch away. Learning content through partners like Arifu, iCow, and Media has been accessed by nearly 310,000 farmers, empowering them with knowledge. Establishing 144 depots across Kenya ensures farmers have easy access to quality inputs.

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DigiFarm shines as a beacon of hope for smallholder farmers in the grand narrative of technology's impact on industries. Safaricom's commitment to transforming lives through digitization and financial empowerment has resulted in a platform that connects farmers to information and opportunities. DigiFarm is not just a platform; it's a movement that resonates with Kenya's agricultural heart. DigiFarm brings the dream of prosperous farming to life through innovation, collaboration, and empowerment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is DigiFarm? DigiFarm is an integrated mobile platform launched by Safaricom to empower smallholder farmers in Kenya through digitization, knowledge sharing, financial services, and market access.
  2. How do I join DigiFarm? To join DigiFarm, dial *283# on your Safaricom mobile phone, choose the 'register' option, and follow the prompts to provide your ID, ward, specialized agricultural product, and other details.
  3. What benefits does DigiFarm offer? DigiFarm offers farmers access to personalized information, financial services such as loans, high-quality inputs through depots, and opportunities to connect directly with buyers through initiatives like DigiSoko.
  4. How do DigiFarm loans work? DigiFarm offers loans based on farmers' credit scores derived from historical farm data. The loans have varying repayment periods of 30, 60, or 90 days, and they are facilitated through partnerships with FarmDrive.
  5. How does DigiFarm contribute to farmers' knowledge? DigiFarm provides access to learning content through partners like Arifu, iCow, and Media, enabling farmers to enhance their agronomic knowledge and farming practices.
  6. What is the role of DigiFarm Village Advisors? DigiFarm Village Advisors are field experts who offer personalized support to farmers, helping them navigate the platform, access services, and make informed decisions.

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Joseph Richard Joseph is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science (Applied Option). With expertise in Technology and Finance, he brings his knowledge to the field, demonstrating an authoritative understanding of these interrelated areas. Joseph is pursuing a Master's in Software Engineering, further expanding his skill set.