Google has announced a Kshs 100 million grant to train more than 100,000 Kenyan smallholder farmers in digital skills. The company also launched Street View and for the first time ever in Africa, Motorbike Mode on Google Maps. The announcements were made at the first Google for Kenya, where the company outlined its long-term strategy and commitment to contribute to the country’s economic and social growth.
To help farmers increase their yields and productivity, Google.org is partnering with One Acre Fund, a non-profit organization headquartered in Kakamega, to provide training as well as products and services to smallholder farmers aimed at digitising their agribusiness operations and tasks. Farmers in low-income and rural parts of the country will benefit from the grant and training taking effect over the next one year.
Charles Murito, Country Manager for Google Kenya said: “In Kenya, the agriculture sector employs over 40% of the total population, contributing to 30% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We want to see the power of technology elevate small scale farming. We hope that through this initiative, we will see a positive impact in food security, job creation and GDP growth in Kenya”
For smallholder farmers, technology is often the game changer that enables efficiency and increased productivity from agricultural output.
“At One Acre Fund, we’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with Google in the service of smallholder farmers in Kenya. With greater access to technology and training, farmers can make their land more productive. We’re excited to scale our digital innovations in rural areas and expand our life-improving services for thousands of hard-working farmers,” said Matthew Forti, Managing Director, One Acre Fund.
The Digital Skills for Africa program builds on Google’s existing commitment in Sub Saharan Africa to improve economic opportunities. Google commited to train one million African youth between April 2016 and March 2017. In July 2017, the program was extended to see 10m youth and 100,000 developers trained across the region by 2022.
As of today, the digital skills program has trained more than 2.5 million Africans and in Kenya, we have trained over 200,000 job seekers and over 400,000 businesses on various digital skills relevant to their career goals and business needs.
Since the first class of Launchpad Accelerator Africa was launched in March, four Kenyan startups have already benefited from the program:
- Pezesha – Class 1- a scalable Peer to Peer microlending marketplace that allows Kenyans to loan to other Kenyans, securely, via mobile money using big data and credit analytics.
- Flexpay – Class 1 – an automated and secured layaway e-commerce system
- Cloud9xp – Class 2: an online marketplace and booking service that allows people to buy and sell experiences in various locations across Africa and the Middle East.
- PayGo Energy -Class 2: PayGo’s smart meter and connected software service allows players in the LP gas (LPG) value chain to better service their customers, driving the adoption of clean cooking fuels.
The application process for the ongoing Google Impact Challenge closed with over 1,000 Kenyan entries. This is part of Google’s $20 million Google.org commitment to Africa over the next five years and is the first time a Google Impact Challenge is running in Africa. The winning entries will be unveiled on November 28, 2018.