F3 Life provides a demonstration site for its system in Kenya’s southern Aberdares, in Nyandarua county. A first proof of concept in partnership with Farmer’s Life East Africa was achieved with 50 farmers, and will be scaling to 350 farmers in 2017 under a new arrangement. The trials with 50 smallholder clients demonstrated substantial success.
Additionally, as a result of the success of the proof of concept, Farmer’s Life East Africa raised credit through Kiva (a crowd-lending platform) at 0% interest for its second phase – demonstrating the concept’s ability to raise low-cost debt finance.
Farmers Life East Africa provides “Farmer’s Life” loans, which farmers receive on their phones using Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile money system. To qualify for loans at reduced interest rates, farmers must plant grass strips and trees across the contour of their land. This protects their farms from soil erosion. Without prevention measures, slopes are at risk of soil erosion, leading to reduced crop yields and siltation of rivers, lakes and dams.
Grass strips grow to form a barrier against soil erosion, in time creating terraces behind the grass. Farmer’s Life East Africa’s approach protects soils at risk of erosion after harvest and during rains and secures the protection of agricultural soils and watersheds.
|Farmer’s Life East Africa recruits farmers from existing farmers groups.|
|Farmers who wish to become clients sign a loan agreement, agreeing to pay their loan with interest.|
|Farmers also sign a land management agreement as part of their loan agreement, agreeing how they will manage their land.|
|Farmers then activate their loan when they are ready and receive it via M-Pesa mobile money, which is secure and transparent.|
|Farmers also receive farming advice from a Farmer’s Life ‘farming advisor’. This helps them to implement their land management agreement. The farming advisor also monitors progress.|
|Clients use their loans to invest in their farming businesses, aiming to boost their incomes.|