Construction of a cashew nut factory in Kilifi County. Cashew nut farmers at the Coast have established an online payment platform to get rid of brokers blamed for woes that brought down the once-thriving sector in the region.
The over 15,000 farmers from Kilifi, Lamu and Kwale counties recently also signed a purchase agreement with nut processor, Ten Senses Africa Limited, to buy their produce.
Yesterday, Ten Senses Africa Limited partnered with Safaricom to create a robust out-growers management system that is anchored on blockchain technology.
The online system will register all farmers, where each uses an identity card number as the access code. After the registration farmers would deliver their produce to a cashew nuts collection centre where an automated weighing machines have been installed to automatically relay all the details of each transaction to an individual farmer in real-time and payment made instantly to his Mpesa account.
With the collapse of the cooperative societies in the early 90s, brokers have dominated the industry, buying directly from farmers at very poor farm gate prices and selling to processors.
This has led to the decline of the sector since farmers could not venture into commercial farming in the sector due to low returns.
“The new technology aids in direct sourcing and traceability of the cashew products from farmer to the ultimate consumer. Further, being a social enterprise that specializes in organic farming and fair trade, farmers will get premium prices for their produce,” Frank Omondi, TSA Managing Director, said when the company opened cashew nuts buying from farmers for this season yesterday at Kilifi factory site.
The two partners are also offering cashew nut farmers one-stop accessibility to get agro inputs on loan that are also applied on mobile loan and accessed immediately as vouchers that farmers can use to procure farm inputs from any of 50 Agro shops the programme has established.
A farmer can get a loan of up to Sh500,000 depending on the number of trees on the farm, states the partnership agreement.
The loan also covers other crops that include maize, coconut, and green grams. Farmers will use the facility for land clearing and preparation, planting, and buying seedlings.
The platform, dubbed DigiFarm, farmers will also get insurance yield covers to cushion them against unforeseen losses.The partners will also provide extension services to registered cashew farmers through remote agronomists stationed at the DigiFarm call center or on the ground- DigiFarm Village Advisors (DVA), through farmers […]