Kakamega county is a high populated zone with wonderful weather conditions and well surrounded with tropical rain forest in Kenya. Poultry keeping in Kakamega county was taken as a cultural practice during ancient time of our ancestors, but the farmers find difficult to adapt this resource to the current market needs. Indeed, the region is unable to feed itself and poor farming techniques are still practiced. Hotels, hospitals, schools and different companies of Kakamega would represent a good market for chicken farmers, but they import them from other Kenyan regions because of the lack of a local supply. We conducted a research and we discovered that 95% of people living in our region own a mobile phone. We realized that the best way to help farmers was to educate rural people to save money.
m-Pesa, a mobile money service launched by Safaricom in 2006, allows people to send and receive money by SMS, as well as pay the electricity bill from their house and buy food at supermarket. That’s how we are helping farmer to save money and get access to loans by using their mobile phone. We started by creating Kakamega Rural Development Program (KARDEP), an initiative supported by Biovision, with the aim of empowering poor small scale farmers with information on poultry production. We organized first common working groups (CWGs) and common interest groups (CIGs) to train and upgrading them into cooperative able to market their products. After that, we have launched a revolvingfund platform in partnership with the service provider Safaricom, where farmers are able to save using their mobile phones and get soft loans through their phones as well, with a great impact to farmers projects which are now able to sustain themselves.
Watch the video documentary that Agritools realized on the field!