Commercial agribusiness projects command huge capital investments. No doubt, this can be a barrier to millions of young people who want to venture into farming. For a country like Kenya, where up to 39% of youth are unemployed and the costs of land and farm inputs are high, succeeding in the agribusiness sector can be a challenge. This is true especially for young people who have no direct access to loans from banks.
Thanks to the digital technology that has enabled Safaricom PLC to come to the rescue of young jobless Kenyans who cannot raise the capital they need to finance their agri-projects. With their new DigiFarm loan program, Safaricom is now a financial saver to agri-startups.
What is Safaricom’s DigiFarm?
DigiFarm is an integrated mobile platform geared toward helping smallholder farmers with accessing agri-loans and farm inputs. This amazing program also offers free education services to registered members. Provides an opportunity for farmers to access markets, acquire farm insurance cover plus many other essential and value-added services that are necessary to boost agricultural production.
The goal of Safaricom’s DigiFarm is to improve farm production, boost farmers’ incomes, encourage saving and profitability of the agribusiness industry. It achieves these by making digitally-powered financial and non-financial services directly accessible to smallholder farmers.
Registration to DigiFarm
Now, having known what Safaricom’s DigiFarm is, the next thing you might be wondering about is how to get started with and enjoy the benefits that come with this transformative technology.
I will explain more benefits of DigiFarm later in this article, but for now, let’s go through the registration process.
Knowing how to register to Safaricom DigiFarm is important. You need to become a member of DigiFarm first before you can enjoy any benefits from the platform. So, how then do you register to Safaricom DigiFarm?
The following is a summary of the DigiFarm registration procedure. You can register in two ways as I explain below
The first way in which you can register to Safaricom DigiFarm is through the DigiFarm App. It’s a simple process.
All you need to do is to download the application from Google Play Store. You can do that by clicking this link. Once you have installed and opened the DigiFarm App on your smartphone, just follow the instructions on your screen. The entire process takes less than five minutes.
You can also register to DigiFarm directly from your phone without having to download the DigiFarm App. Here are the steps to follow
- Dial *944#
- Accept the Terms and Conditions
- Complete the registration by following the steps on your screen.
Note: You’ll need the following information to finish the registration
- Your ID Number
- Location details: sub-county, county, and ward.
- Land details: Your size of land
What Next After Registering to DigiFarm?
Once you complete the registration process, Safaricom will send you an SMS containing your DigiFarm Farmer Number. Your DigiFarm Farmer Number uniquely identifies you as a registered member of the DigiFarm program.
It is this number that you will use to access DigiFarm services including redeeming loan vouchers. If for some reason, you lose or do not know your DigiFarm number, there are two ways you can easily determine it.
How to get your DigiFarm Farmer Number from the DigiFarm App
- Open the DigiFarm app
- From the home screen, access the navigation bar
- Select ‘My Profile’
- On your profile page, you will find your farmer number
How to get your DigiFarm Farmer Number by Dialing *944#
*944# is the number to dial to access DigiFarm services. You can use it to get your DigiFarmer Farmer Number. Follow the steps below
- Dial *944#
- Go to ‘My Profile’
- Go to ‘Farmer Details’
You will then receive an SMS with your DigiFarm Number from Safaricom.
Benefits of DigiFarm to Registered Farmers
Increased accessibility to farm inputs at a discount
Once you become a DigiFarm registered member, you’ll begin to enjoy the benefits of this amazing farmers’ program. And when talking about the advantages of DigiFarm, it makes sense to begin by mentioning that this digital platform allows contracted farmers to access farm inputs at affordable prices.
DigiFarm’s discounted farm inputs are available from DigiFarm Master Agents. So, you only need to identify and visit your nearest agent with your National ID and DigiFarm Farmer Number. In the sections that follow, I will be showing you what a DigiFarm Master Agent and DigiFarm Farmer Number are.
Meanwhile, let me mention that DigiFarm offers different types of inputs at the DigiFarm Master Agent. Some of the products you should expect include feeds, seeds, fertilizer, agrochemicals, veterinary products, and mineral supplements for dairy and livestock.
However, DigiFarm inputs are not free. They are paid for at discounted prices. Therefore, as a registered farmer, you need to know how to pay for your inputs. There are different payment procedures for contracted and non-contracted farmers as I’ll explain here.
Free farmer education and learning resources
Another remarkable benefit of joining DigiFarm is free training. Through DigiFarm, Safaricom allows farmers to access valuable information on crops and livestock. It is worth repeating the beautiful part of this: training services and resources are absolutely free.
Here is my blog post on how farmers can benefit from DigiFarm Learning by Safaricom PLC
Increased access to farm loans
DigiFarm allows farmers to access a farming loan. Registered farmers can redeem their credit vouchers and receive farm inputs such as fertilizers, feeds, and seeds. As I mentioned before, DigiFarm farm inputs are available from DigiFarm Master Agent. I the next paragraph, I describe Mavuno loan, which is the main type of loan provided by DigiFarm.
Mavuno Loan (value-chain-based loan): Mavuno loan is meant to support farming activities. It is linked to the size of land and the crop (or value chain) under cultivation. This loan covers farm inputs in the form of fertilizers and pesticides.
Learn more about DigiFarm’s Mavuno Loan and Insurance cover for farmers.
Marketing and Other Services
At times, marketing farm produce can be a big challenge especially for farmers located in remote, rural areas with poor road networks. If you are such a farmer, DigiFarm finds you the solution. You only need to become a DigiFarm registered farmer to access market services and sell your farm produce at competitive rates.
Moreover, Safaricom not only provides farm inputs to DigiFarm registered farmers but also offers to buy their farm produce after harvesting. Also, as a registered farmer, you do not have to pay anything to access or benefit from Safaricom DigiFarm. The platform makes all the services available to you for free!
More About DigiFarm
As I wrap up this article, I want us to look at what DigiFarm Master Agent. Safaricom depends on people called “agents” to reach out to farmers. These agents are also referred to as “DigiFarm Master Agent (DMA) or Village Agents. They are DigiFarm’s local agents that deliver DigiFarm products and services to farmers at their local settings. You can think of a DMA as DigiFarm service center.
These agents help farmers to access DigiFarm’s farm inputs and loans. They also provide farmers will technical assistance by answering the farmer’s questions on crops and livestock especially those under the DigiFarm program. Additionally, DMAs assist farmers with advice on loan repayment.
Therefore, it is highly important for all registered DigiFarm farmers to know their nearest DigiFarm Master Agents. So, how can you know who is your nearest DigiFarm Master Agent? There are two ways you can use:
If you already have the DigiFarm app installed on your smartphone, just open the application and on the home screen, select “Find a Master Agent.” The app will request you to “allow location services,” which will allow DigiFarm to automatically scan the area and find the DMA that’s closest to you. Alternatively, you can search your nearest DMA by location using “All Master Agents” tab on the home screen.
You can also find your closest agent by dialing *944# and selecting “Buy Inputs” followed by “Find Nearest Master Agent.” A text message containing your nearest DMA will be sent to your mobile phone.