Wefarm, the farmer-to-farmer digital network, has announced that it has reached over 300,000 farmers across East Africa, namely in Kenya and Uganda. There are over 180,000 farmers in Kenya using Wefarm at present.
Wefarm is a free mobile and online service that enables farmers to connect with one another around the world to solve problems, share ideas and spread innovation.
Approximately 500 million small-scale farmers provide over 70% of the world’s food. However, up to 90% have no access to the internet and are often isolated from basic agricultural information and new ideas. Wefarm enables farmers to share crucial livestock and crop information online and via SMS – without needing the internet and without having to leave their farms.
Wefarm’s key innovation is the creation of the world’s first crowdsourced peer-to-peer network for offline communities. According to the GSMA, by 2020, 168 million more people will be connected to mobile services in Africa alone. This represents an immense opportunity for rural connectivity. To take advantage of this, Wefarm, as announced earlier this year, has partnered with nano satellite technology company Sky & Space Global, a leading global player in both narrowband connectivity services and advanced underserved area communications (AUAC).
One of the first users to sign up to Wefarm two years ago, Presley Jonah Lang’at, a retired government agricultural officer from Kenya, said: “I have answered over 100 questions on Wefarm since joining. Farming is a difficult job and it’s important to share our knowledge together as a world community. Wefarm’s network has provided me with information that I could not find elsewhere. It has helped my cattle heal faster from disease and has provided me with remedies that optimise milk production for my livestock – I will be a user for life.”
Kenny Ewan, CEO of Wefarm, said: “We are the first business in the world to have launched an SMS network enabling farmers to access crucial agricultural information from within the global farming community itself. The popularity of our peer-to- peer model proves that farmers are hungry to connect with each other and to share their insights, innovations and challenges. We are proud that Wefarm is providing a service that responds to the needs and wants of the world’s small-scale farmers and have made it our mission to connect every farmer in the world who needs information — online or off. But we won’t stop there. Our vision in the coming years is to create a new digital ecosystem of products and services for the 400 billion GBP small-scale agriculture market, made for farmers by farmers.”
Saul Klein, Founder of LocalGlobe and seed investor in Wefarm said: “Wefarm is exactly the type of domain-specific network that adds real value to its users. Just as Stack Overflow built a community for the 18.5 million developers globally to share their programming knowledge, Wefarm is building a community – and, soon, a new digital ecosystem of products and services – for the world’s 500 million small-scale farmers. Growing the community to 300,0000 farmers, made up of dense localised clusters in key counties in Kenya and Uganda, is a significant accomplishment. We are excited to see the team now implementing lessons from Kenya in Uganda, which is showing dramatically faster user growth. 300,000 farmer is an important milestone and we look forward to seeing continued growth in the months ahead.”
In addition to this milestone, Wefarm has also announced several new partnerships this quarter. Rural Outreach Africa (ROP), Heifer International and TechnoServe have all partnered with Wefarm to bring their farmers into the network, thus extending the benefits of farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing to their brands. Wefarm is currently seeking its next round of funding. Current investors include LocalGlobe and Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV).
Wefarm lets small-scale farmers connect with one another to solve problems, share ideas and spread innovation. Utilising the latest machine learning technology, Wefarm’s service works both online and over SMS. Knowledge shared on Wefarm can help farmers to produce higher quality product, increase yields, gain insight into marketing pricing, tackle the effects of climate change, source the best seeds, fertiliser and loans, diversify agricultural interests, and much more. The company is headquartered in London with field presence in Nairobi and Kampala.