Digital Transformation has sure made its way into the African continent and we have already seen technology improve processes in different sectors.
The advent of technology was fast tracked by the COVID-19 pandemic with most African countries now embracing technological innovations and reaping the benefits of the same. Industries like banking, health, education etc have all been improved by technology in one way or another.
For many years, the agricultural sector has been at the centre stage for economic development in the continent. Similarly, this sector has also seen its fair share of technological innovations that are aimed at bringing out the best from agricultural practices in Kenya.
One company that is using technology to improve the agricultural sector in Africa is AFEX, which is building a trust economy for commodities in Africa. After successfully running in Nigeria, the company has now launched in Kenya with the aim of boosting maize production in Kenya by supporting the small-scale farmers.
We caught up with AFEX’s Managing Director in Kenya, Tabitha Njuguna, who is optimistic that the company will have a good impact in Kenya and boost maize production in Kenya. The company has chosen to start with Uasin-Gishu and Trans-Nzoia counties in Kenya which are the top maize farming counties in the country.
AFEX has entered the Kenyan agricultural sector to provide small scale farmers with financing as well as infrastructural facilities to enable them get more produce. Tabitha is confident that with the technological advancements in Kenya will help the company be able to support more small-scale farmers in the Kenyan rural areas.
“In Kenya, M-Pesa is, of course, a great support system to what we do because we make payments to farmers, farmers pay their loans through M-Pesa so infrastructure support is existent,” Tabitha told CIO Africa.
Apart from providing financial support to farmers, AFEX has also set up warehouses in the country that will help farmers store their produce in good conditions that will ensure the produce maintains its good quality over time.
Furthermore, AFEX also provides a platform for the farmers to trade their produce on, as they work on their mission to build a trust economy for commodities in Africa. This is the part of the business where AFEX relies heavily on technology.
The company’s Chief Operating Officer, Akinyinka Akintunde told CIO Africa, that the company has spent some considerable investment in ensuring that their technology system in the firm could support the growth and structure of the business and their clients as well.
“Once we set up the warehouses we have a set of technology tools that we have put in place which we refer to as ‘AFEX workbench’”, he said.
“Workbench is an enterprise resource management that is designed and developed to manage all activities that are related to small-scale farmers,” Akinyinka added.
The technology used by AFEX to grow agriculture in Africa has grown from a robust CRM system which was used to capture the digital identity of the farmers up to a very solid management system that ensures that intake and dispatches of stock is seamless.
The company has been a success in Nigeria, thanks to the technological advancement in the country. AFEX looks to leverage the technological penetration in Kenya to revolutionize agriculture in Kenya as well.