TreeKenya’s Agritech platform connects smallholder farmers to accredited organic, carbon and financial markets
As a major employer and driver of economic growth, agriculture lies at the heart of the Kenyan economy. Yet, out of a population of 46 million, 14.5 million people face food insecurity and poor nutrition every year.
Today, 63% of food in Kenya is produced by smallholder farms. They manage a large share of natural resources – such as water, land and soil – despite very limited access to education, technology, finance and markets. Along with felling, the harsh chemical fertilisers and pesticides used on the lands are damaging and directly contribute to greenhouse gases.
For farmers to respond to the increasing demand for food, they need to be able to rely on well-functioning research and development, training and information systems. In the wake of sustained efforts to modernise farming practices, the role of technology is at the crux of maximising the value chain.
With the right access to the latest technology and agroecological inputs, local farmers can become stewards of biodiverse farmlands that hold great potential for carbon storage. Encouraging farmers to grow a variety of native tree species, using organic-only practices also facilitates the production of healthy and nutritious food.
At TreeKenya, we provide an innovative, free digital platform to enable smallholders to access organic value chains, up-to-date information and digital services. Our agritech initiative, backed by climate-smart technology and sustainable precision farming, aggregates farmers to transform the food and agriculture system.
The proprietary platform merges the best of agriculture, climate, food, finance and technology information. As a Plan Vivo validated Monitoring and Evaluating application, it presents a system change to smallholder regenerative agriculture, improving output and increasing farmer development enriches the livelihoods of farmers and the quality and nutritional value of the crops.
Carbon credits enable the programme and incentivise farmers to plant high-value trees for their nuts, fruits, seeds and leaves – such as moringa, neem, avocado and citrus trees. Coupled with the land converted to certified organic, 60% of carbon sales go straight to the farmer for tree and soil organic sequestration.
Our circular solution secures long-term offtake agreements with organic retailers; establishes organic seed banks at participating schools; and builds a database of farmers with transaction and payment trails, enabling micro-finance & insurance businesses to sell their services.
We aim to arm farmers with the same intelligence as Big Ag – weather, land mapping and precision farming - with satellites monitoring and evaluating. Moreover, we enable access to crop and finance insurance, protecting farmers against growing agricultural risks - particularly locusts, natural disasters, disease and theft.
By providing these services, farmers gain more control over their productive assets and overcome the degradation of the natural resource base. They will also be guaranteed markets for their organic production from farm to fork.
We are at the vanguard of smallholder farmers achieving economies of scale and enhancing their market power.
Rosanna Pycraft, Journalist