Farming and Agriculture in Kenya
Farming is one of the main forms of income in the African continent. Nonetheless, agriculture is Kenya’s key economy as it contributes to about 26% of the annual GDP. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, this sector employs more than 70% of citizens in rural areas but employs more that 40% of the total population.
Climate change has been a huge influence in the agricultural sectors and affect yield, quality and of course revenue. As a result, there have been various innovations and strides made to help boost and support this sector from various economical, political and social approaches.
Lima Connect BV is a Dutch-Kenyan initiative that aims to provide a simple web/mobile application that will support the day-to-day activities of farmers and actors in the agri-food sector.
The Lima Connect app aims to incorporate technology into business whilst being frugal and smart. The application will be readily available for farmers, corporations to keep track of their produce and services within the various agri-food value chains. Lima Connect targets both middle-income and low-income farmers and cooperatives in both urban and rural settings (around Nairobi) as they believe that all could contribute and benefit from the Lima platform.
It is important to note that the agricultural sector is becoming more digitized and the Lima app also provides the opportunity to keep-up with the current changes i.e. from delivery statements to proof of purchase, these are some of the useful documents/services that could be readily available to farmers keep track of their business transactions in a more easy, formal and verified manner.
We are in the initial stages of the app creation process so at the moment the main focus is market validation. This means the first iteration (prototype) of the platform will be designed, tested and used with a first group of potential users with different products or services in the agri-food sector. This initial stage will also provide Lima Connect with further insight into the dynamics of this particular niche in the local Kenyan market.
The next step
CFIA students from the minor FI4SGD are helping in the initial stages of Lima Connect BV in the Kenyan market. The pioneer team is to undertake the initial market and target and research in Kenya. This will include understanding the different value chains and actors along the production and delivery process. In collaboration with various participants in Nairobi and its neighbouring towns, a group of potential users will be used to test out the first iteration of the application. This will provide the initial qualitative research on what is the varied spectrum of needs and wants.
Through the data gathered, iterations and improvements will be made accordingly to the prototype design of the Lima app. The application design takes into account that a large majority of phones used are either android or non-smartphones. Therefore, the design takes this into mind so that anyone with a phone can still be part of the smart-farmer movement.
The hidden question is, how an application could be considered as frugal? This is one of the main points of research for this pioneering team as Lima aims to underpin the effectiveness of new age technology in the process of changing the public consciousness on socio-economic grievances in Kenya. The app may provide room for discussion on improving production and consumption levels but also in tackling the issue of yield wastage. Lima Connect provides the opportunity for individuals in both the rural and urban areas to be ‘smart’, proactive and productive farmers.
Sustainable Global Development
The research project initiated by Lima Connect aims to investigate how the Lima App can advance towards the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:
1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 8 (decent work and economic growth), and 12 (responsible consumption).
Possible advances are as follows; the use of the Lima app can help to create a network between the farmers, enterprises and cooperatives in both the rural and urban areas. This will look to provide more opportunities for people along the agri-food value chains but also ensure responsible consumption and production of goods/services in the local market (SDG 8 and 12). Easy access to such an application might also provide an incentive to start or grow an agri-based livelihood, thus tackling poverty issues, particularly in rural areas. In terms of the overall potential, the Lima app might provide a better outlook of agricultural yields and perhaps stimulate discussion and effective action towards hunger issues in impoverished areas of the country.
Lima Connect BV
Mr. Matthijs Nederveen (Lima Connect Netherlands)
Mr. Paul Mbathia (Lima Connect, Netherlands)
Mr. Stephen Njenga (Lima Connect, Kenya)
Partner organizations and supervisors
Dr Andre Leliveld (CFIA - HQ Netherlands)
Dr. Elsie Onsongo (CFIA- Hub Kenya)
Mr. Matthijs Nederveen (Lima Connect)
Student Research Team
Natalie Musomba (Leiden University – International Studies: Africa)
Jeroen Kappé (TU Delft – Computer Science)