Agrics seeks innovators to augment African farmer ally's impact
Agrics is a company in an interesting and fertile position: We have developed a suite of resources to support East African farmers to have a viable, durable business, and we’re excited to do more. Both increasing the sustainability and enhancing our offerings via innovation are on the radar. We seek innovative partners to do both.
Helping farmers go beyond subsistence and into a durable living while addressing the changing landscape
Agrics provides agricultural products and services on credit to 30,000 small-scale farmers in Kenya and Tanzania, extending into Uganda next year. These farmers try to make a living from their farms while seeking to overcome a range of challenges they face:
- Increasing rural population density, which impacts plot size in subsequent generations;
- Changing climate;
- Getting out of subsistence farming and into “farming as a business”;
- Limited access to markets, agricultural innovation or finance.
Through its system for last-mile distribution, Agrics provides farmers with access to quality inputs, knowledge and credit in order to improve their economic position. To keep adding value for our clients in the long term we are looking for innovative partners to develop new products and services that are economically viable, socially supportive and environmentally sound.
Deep understanding of and serving small-scale farmers needs
Given its ability to bridge the distance to the small-scale farmer in all aspects of last-mile distribution, and a strong on the ground presence through a network of community-based field officers, Agrics has a thorough understanding of small farming in East Africa. Its understanding of and closeness to this community provides the basis for a demand-driven portfolio of value-adding products and services.
Our platform is ready to diversify its products and services through innovative solutions
Currently, Agrics focuses on bundles of seeds, fertilizer, training and advice. Yet ultimately, Agrics provides a strong and intimate connection directly to farmers for last-mile distribution. This direct connection, supported by a strong ICT backbone, provides a sound basis from which innovative organisations could partner with us to develop products and services that structurally improve the position of small-scale farmers.
Key areas we’re interested in developing that you can help with
Increasing the level of sustainable agriculture in our clients
Gradually we will include more and more products and services to promote sustainable agriculture, to meet the demand of farmers for environmentally sustainable practices without compromising their productivity and household income. But in the short term, there is still a lot to gain by increasing small farm productivity through the use of inorganic fertiliser and modern agronomic practices. Going forward, products and services that support soil quality, ecological diversity, efficient use of inputs and water conservation will be of interest both to the small-scale farmers and Agrics.
Expanding our risk management portfolio of offerings
Supporting our clients in reducing and mitigating risks is important, both from a farmer perspective and for Agrics as a business. Through our Geodatics initiative we provide farmers with tailored advice based on the particular characteristics of their plot. We provide a life and funeral insurance (the ‘benevolent fund’) with our bundles and are looking to include other risk-mitigating products like weather-based savings and crop insurance.
ICT solutions to elevate farmer practices and business management
A wide range of agriculture-focused ICT solutions is being developed these days by a range of start-ups, NGOs and other providers. We’re interested in including those among our offerings, and welcome hearing from those who have or are developing such things.
For the farmers, these developments can mean increased knowledge on farming practices, increased transparency about products, services and prices and remote ordering and financing possibilities. As access to smartphones, bandwidth and digital literacy increase over the next few years, these ICT solutions will most definitely pose new opportunities for Agrics to add value to its farmers. Agrics can leverage its close connection with small-scale farms to partner with these technology-driven companies.
What we’re seeking overall
There is a whole range of products and services, whether readily available, in development, being tested or just ‘great ideas’, which could be of interest for small-scale farmers and which Agrics could bring together as a trusted provider of products and services.
We want to keep adding value for our clients in the long-term, and offer a portfolio of products and services that are economically viable - both from the perspective of the farmer and of Agrics - as well as socially supportive and environmentally sound. It's with these factors in mind that we are looking for innovative organisations to partner with in developing and marketing products and services that sustainably improve the economic position of small-scale farmers.
You can learn more about Agrics here: http://www.agrics.org
We look forward to hearing from you!
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