oikos UNDP Academy participants recently paid a visit to iHub, the innovative ICT hot spot located outside the city center in Nairobi, to discuss Kenya's booming ICT sector. After a Panel Discussion on ICT and Development Student Reporter Lindsay Shafer sat together with panelist Linda Kwamboka, co-founder of M-Farm, an innovative mobile phone application that aims to encourage farming by transitioning it from a subsistence-based model to agribusiness. Listen to the interview at the bottom of the article.
"The widespread use of SMS is what has helped M-Farm become so successful. Linda and her co-founders realized that while farmers own mobile phones, they are usually lower-end models without internet access. How can farmers find up-to-date prices for their crops without access to the Internet? Through M-Farm's SMS-focused design that gives farmers access to daily market prices and to buyers across the country. As Kwamboka explained, the company "targets farmers with one acre or less of land. A farmer will use SMS to see the price of the crop and the amount buyers need. Then the farmer can join with neighbor farmers to bring a bigger crop to market." Partnering ensures a better price for farmers and assurance that their crops will be sold. M-Farm makes a profit by charging a small fee per text message and by selling its market data to government agencies and NGOs."