Smallholder farmers can now have improved access to credit thanks to satellite technology

New tool improves access to credit facilities for smallholder farmers in Kenya

December 19, 2019

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his year, the winner of the NpM Innovator’s Challenge developed a new tool that improves access to credit facilities for Smallholder Farmers in Kenya. This tool is called Tool for Agricultural Risk Advice (TARA). The prototype was proven to be successful with farmers, financial services firms and technical providers that are now ready to scale. TARA is currently looking for EUR 150k to EUR 500k funding for 2020 – the last round before full commercialisation in 2021. Keep reading to learn more about TARA and possible funding opportunities for further scaling.

ARA was developed by ACRE Africa and VanderSat and provides accurate climate information for credit scoring of smallholder farmers in Kenya. The tool uses unique satellite technology and can be scaled to any country in the world. Both a long historical record (>15 years) and near-real time global satellite data are combined with agronomic knowledge to generate revolutionary agricultural risk information and advisories at field level. Non-payment among smallholders can be estimated before loan approval and monitored during the season.

In the project, TARA found 14 climate risk indicators with predictive power among the test pilot group of +400 smallholders. Our ambition is to provide 600,000 loans to smallholders in 4 years. TARA provides key input to the services of FSPs, MFIs, (re)insurers, and NGOs. With the possibility to include already existing risk information (i.e. financial and psychometric data), TARA is an integral solution to de-risk loans and insurance.

In the next phase, TARA will focus on three steps: 1) extending the TARA prototype, 2) testing for all regions in Kenya and 3) operationalization including a payment system. Prototype improvements include new advisories that warn farmers about drought or extreme wet conditions to help farmers make climate-change informed decisions. These are related to planting, irrigation, use of crop protection and harvesting. Furthermore, the tool will allow for easy integration with other data sources for improved credit scoring. To start this new phase, additional funding of EUR 150-500k, depending on the size of testing and needed improvement, is required before February 2020. After the next phase, TARA will be an economically viable solution that can operate and grow independently.

Check out the TARA website for more information.

Or reach out to Berend

To discuss how you can help to scale this business.

Berend de Jong MSc
CCOberenddejong@vandersat.com

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