4 Ways in Which Technology Is Impacting on Kenya Family Growers Down the Value Chain 

The use of technology in Kenya is changing how farmers are able to sell and transact their produce. For instance, it is now possible to directly consult with major buyers via SMS or apps, an attribute up to now reserved for middlemen. Farmers also get tips on what to plant to meet the export window based on up-to-date agricultural data insights. The following are four major benefits of using technology to monitor the value chain of family growers.

Getting Know-how about New Farming ventures

Poultry farming, mushroom cultivation, aqua culture, smart farming, organic farming and hydroponics are some of the ventures around which newcomers lack knowledge. For instance, various people have ventured into the usually profitable poultry business due to ready markets in Uganda and other countries. But due to lack of basic knowhow on the rearing of chickens, these farmers sometimes record losses. They also do not have connections to the markets.

Technology has now afforded such ventures with knowledge that is not limited to basic rearing. They also get access to soft credit from banking institutions to fund their ventures. A popular form of payment in Kenya is mobile money, which many micro-finance institutions currently accept. The institutions also ensure they get their money’s worth by educating the farmers with tips on the ventures they have undertaken.

Value Chain Help

A major obstacle to family growers is where to transport their produce after harvest. The easiest option is the village farmer’s market but this is usually not enough when there is surplus. Brokers are usually the traditional liaison between the export market and the farmers. However, their payments are low and sometimes do not reflect seasonal price adjustments.

To alleviate the problem, technology is now connecting farmers to export and reseller markets. Most allow the agropreneurs to connect to a platform for the perpetual supply of produce at designated times. Others use applications that send subscribers the latest details about the market so that they can sell their produce directly. Because of the intelligence of such systems, family growers usually grow crops guided by data of specific markets that need the harvest at a particular date.

Creation of Transparency and Price control

One of the huddles that face small-scale farmers in Kenya is lack of price transparency down the value chain. Technology has come to the rescue. For instance, a family grower connects to a buyer directly through the mobile app. He or she can follow the produce up to its final consumer to know whether the price the buyer has offered is fair or not. This has also helped to remove the middleman from the supply chain process.

Logistics Costs

One of the major hindrances and an excuse by buyers to charge low prices for fresh produce is the high transportation costs from the farm. Via technological agreements, it has nevertheless become possible for farmers in Kenya to connect with the overseas markets directly and as a result eliminate transportation expenditure. This is courtesy of technology-endowed Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) ventures. These contract farmers via phone and computer applications to grow for them. They then help to harvest, organize transport from the farms, pack and sell the produce to designate international buyers.

The removal of logistics costs in this method is through charging the importer the transportation fees through a slight markup in price. Because the gate price of produce is usually relatively lower than the international price, the markup is therefore insignificant. Thus it does not hurt the importer’s budget much. Therefore, the removal of logistics and packing fees from the farmer’s budget via contractual transactions ensures exports at fair prices for both the seller and the eventual buyer.


Because family growers constitute 85% of all horticultural farmers in Kenya, they require an accessible technological means to reap the rewards of their produce. Through short message services to fully-fledged app subscriptions, they are able to monitor the profitability of their sales down the value chain. Tech has also enabled them to access soft financing via mobile money from micro-finance institutions that train them on farming to insure the repayments of loans.