Selina Wamucii, a mobile platform that shortens the agricultural supply chain in Kenya, has received a $100,000 grant from Expo Live, a global social impact programme. Selina Wamucii was founded in June 2015 by John Oroko and Gaita Kariuki, both of whom were born and raised in smallholder families.
The Kenyan startup aims to, through its mobile platform, reduce food wastage and increase farmers’ incomes.
“Both Gaita and I saw the challenges faced by our parents so we studied to become engineers and decided to use our knowledge to help farmers. By enabling users to buy seedlings and better equipment, our platform is helping farmers to become self-sufficient. Some of our mango farmers have increased their incomes by 60 per cent, allowing them to pay for medical bills and their children’s school fees. We also see smallholders investing their money back into the farm to increase yields," said Oroko.
The AgriTech startup from Kenya adds value by digitizing the entire farming supply chain without requiring farmers to have access to smart phones or the Internet. Smallholder farmers in Kenya can then register on the platform by dialling a USSD code from their mobile phones. Selina Wamucii then collects data relating to location, produce type, volume and projections to match farmers with the right buyers.
When large-scale exporters place orders, Selina Wamucii sources fresh produce from farmers according to their location. The company contracts agents to collect and deliver the harvests, as well as to train and monitor registered farmers. By shortening the farming supply chain, Selina Wamucii’s mobile platform passes efficiency savings on to both smallholder farmers and buyers, while ensuring a greater proportion of fresh produce reaches the market.
More than 3,000 smallholder farmers are registered with Selina Wamucii. The startup said mango farmers who were previously earning $100 per year are now making an average of $160 per year.
Selina Wamucii has said that it will use the grant to recruit an additional 2,000 farmers to their platform, enabling the startup to more than double its acceptance rate for buyers’ requests from the current 2.4% to at least 5%.
The company is named after the co-founders’ mothers.