ThriveAgric, an innovative agri-tech startup and the 2022 global winner of the Visa Everywhere Initiative, is set to expand its operations into Kenya. This strategic partnership with Visa aims to transform the payments landscape for smallholder farmers in the country.

ThriveAgric’s Expansion into Kenya

As part of its expansion strategy, ThriveAgric will establish local hubs in five Kenyan counties: Busia, Homabay, Migori, Nandi, and Narok. These hubs will serve as centers for training, agricultural input distribution, and support for up to 10,000 farmers. Specifically, the hubs in Busia and Homabay will act as learning centers where farmers can receive vital agricultural education and resources.

Economic Impact of Smallholder Farmers

Smallholder farmers are the backbone of Kenya’s agricultural sector, which remains crucial despite its declining share in the GDP. According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), agriculture accounts for 21.3% of the nominal Gross Domestic Product and employs over 40% of the total population, including more than 70% of rural inhabitants. However, farmers often face challenges in accessing finance due to high interest rates. ThriveAgric addresses these challenges by providing access to capital, premium global markets, and data-driven farming techniques. Since its inception, ThriveAgric has empowered over 800,000 smallholder farmers and more than 5,000 young people across Nigeria and Ghana.

Aggregation and Quality Control

The hubs in Busia and Homabay will also function as aggregation points for produce during harvest. Farmers can deliver their crops to these hubs and receive payment based on the quality meeting market specifications. This system ensures fair compensation and maintains high standards for produce quality.

Financial Literacy and Inclusion

Additionally, these hubs will provide financial literacy training to farmers, equipping them with the knowledge to manage their finances effectively. The program will facilitate access to financial services, including the opening of bank accounts and the issuance of Visa cards, thus enhancing financial inclusion for smallholder farmers.

Commitment to Digital Payments and Inclusion

Visa’s involvement underscores its commitment to expanding the digital payments ecosystem and promoting financial inclusion. Eva Ngigi-Sarwari, Country Manager for Kenya at Visa, stated, “Smallholder farmers are essential to the Kenyan economy and to our vision of expanding the digital payments ecosystem. This partnership will enable us to build a strong network to directly benefit farmers. We are also excited to partner with a start-up that has emerged from our Visa Everywhere Initiative contest, demonstrating the value it offers for start-ups that participate.”

ThriveAgric’s Vision for the Future

Co-founder of ThriveAgric, Ayo Arikawe, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with Visa. “Our partnership with Visa marks an exciting new chapter in our journey as we double down on our Kenyan expansion, which started last year, and establish local hubs in Busia and Homabay counties.”

ThriveAgric’s long-term vision, as outlined in their Theory of Change, aims to provide $500 million in credit to 10 million smallholder farmers by 2027 and double this number by 2050. This ambitious plan reflects their commitment to boosting agricultural productivity, enhancing food security, and driving sustainable development across Africa.