Disruptive Agricultural Technology Challenge and Conference
The World Bank Group and the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility organized a knowledge and innovation challenge conference on scaling up disruptive digital technologies in the agricultural sector in Kenya.
The Disruptive Agricultural Technology (DAT) Challenge and Conference provided a forum to discuss the opportunities offered by disruptive digital technologies to increase productivity, and access to services and markets in the agricultural sector. Several promising digital technology innovators in agriculture shared their innovation and business plans. Leaders of public and private institutions, technology companies, incubators, researchers, the business community, policymakers, financial institutions, and the donor community gathered together to learn from and network with each other.
The challenge was organized around themes and challenges faced in Kenyan agriculture. Key presentations and Media reports are available here.
Advisory and Information for Agricultural Productivity: This theme covers extension services and Climate Smart Agriculture advisory, as well as the delivery of credible and actionable information in real-time directly to Kenyan farmers to increase productivity. This will help them transition from time, labor, input and resource-intensive practices to more efficient and sustainable planning, production, and management systems.
Market Linkages: Looks at tools to help Kenyan farmers produce high quality, high yield crops as well as help link them to markets, including digital platforms to sell farm produce.
Farmer Financial Inclusion: It focuses on innovators, organizations and businesses that link Kenyan farmers to credit and savings products, insurance, and other innovative financial services, enabling them to invest in their farms.
Data Analytics and Agricultural Intelligence: This challenge is open to solutions that have leveraged data infrastructure, remote sensing and mapping technologies, precision agriculture tools, and computing power to enable data-driven decision-making by policymakers, public agencies, and private service providers in the agriculture sector.
Challenge 1: Advisory and Information of Agricultural Productivity
The average productivity of major crops in Kenya has not increased at a significant rate annually. The maize productivity has increased by 17% over the last 10 years resulting in an annual increase of about 1.7%. There are multiple reasons why growth in productivity has been slow. These include low access to extension and advisory services, including digitally enabled agripreneurs, lack of inputs and quality data. To reach their full potential, farmers need to have access to the latest technologies and data.
Climate change is also having a significant impact on farmers. About 98% of Kenya’s agricultural systems are rain-fed and highly susceptible to climate change and variability. Adoption of climate smart practices can help mitigate the impact of climate change and ensure predictability in yields for the farmers. Specifically, relying on input data such as soil and weather information, can help farmers increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations, and improve sustainable planning, production, and management systems.
How will your model help ensure Kenyan farmers have access to the latest knowledge, training, practices and data, and mechanization best suited for them?
We are looking for innovators, organizations, and businesses that have disrupted the lack of access to advisory services, data for farmers, and climate smart practices.
Challenge 2: Market linkages
A significant percentage of Kenyan farmers are impacted by poorly structured value chains, which directly impact their yields and quality. A Kenyan farmer growing maize typically harvests around two tons per hectare. When the same farmer is able to access inputs including seeds and fertilizers, mechanization technology, and training on better farm practices, his yields increase to 5-7 tons per hectare.
Additionally, 83% of the Kenyan farm households sell part of their crop produce. Hence, fast and reliable access to markets is critical for their success. The farmers, majority of whom are in rural areas and sell their produce at harvest, experience challenges of asymmetric information in prices and selling opportunities as well as limited market access for their products. While markets may exist, one of the limiting factors is not connecting on time.
Given the limited market linkages for both inputs and production, how can you facilitate market links between buyers and sellers along the value chain?
We are looking for innovators, organizations and businesses that have disrupted the poor access to forward and backward market linkages with a disruptive digital solution using digital and other AG Technologies.
Challenge 3: Farmer Financial inclusion
Financial inclusion has significantly increased in rural Kenya. However, access to agriculture finance for small and medium farmers is still limited in Kenya. Only 10% of the smallholder farmers have access to financial services including credit and insurance. The quantity of credit is also inadequate with only 4% of credit supply flowing to the agriculture sector.
Many factors have hampered access to financial services. These include lack of reliable data to support agricultural lending decisions, lack of collaterals to secure financing, the high transaction cost of accessing and delivering financial services to rural areas, lack of data platforms for assessing risk and delivering financial services. Additionally, the high cost of credit translates into a lack of demand for credit by farmers.
How can your technology help to expand coverage of financial services to farmers, including credit, savings and other financial services?
We are looking for innovators, organizations, and businesses that have disrupted the existing situation where most farmers have poor access to financial services (outreach) and the cost of accessing credit and insurance services are high.
Challenge 4: Data Analytics and Agricultural Intelligence
The rapid development of data infrastructure, profusion of digital technologies, and low-cost precision agriculture devices (ICT, Drone Aerial Surveillance, Satellite GIS, Weather Data Analytics, Blockchain, Internet of Things) in Kenya has the potential to deliver farm-level, geospatial, and real-time analytics to inform policies and targeted investments by governments and service providers.
How can your solution enable low-cost collection, analysis, and visualization of high-quality, high-frequency and high-resolution agriculture data to produce maps, farmer registries, project dashboards, climate advisories, market forecasts and other relevant analytics?
We are looking for innovators, organizations, and businesses that have disrupted agricultural intelligence, and decision-making by leveraging the emerging agriculture data infrastructure, digital technologies, and precision agriculture tools.