Shamba Records Taps Blockchain to Revolutionize Agriculture in Africa
Agriculture is the backbone of most African economies, employing 65% of the continent’s workforce. Notwithstanding this, the farmers still face numerous challenges, from market manipulation to lack of access to credit facilities. Shamba Records is utilizing blockchain technology and artificial intelligence to change this industry. Shamba Records leverages blockchain and AI to “collect farmer’s production data, link them to the market, process their payments, and link the small-scale farmers to credit services,” Maina said in a statement.
The Kenyan startup caters to over 6,000 small-scale farmers in rural areas, enabling them to leverage technology to increase their income. As Maina unveiled, Shamba Records has been able to boost their income by at least 40%. Most of the farmers are members of cooperatives and local unions, which expands bargaining power and access to credit. Nevertheless, many of them are corrupt. In many cases, ‘ghost farmers’ who don’t make any contribution, end up getting repaid every harvest season.
“To solve this challenge, we decided to integrate blockchain to peg each farmer’s ID to a blockchain ID. We then created a whole new blockchain registry that can track genuine farmers and their land, crops, and livestock.”
For farmers, access to credit facilities is one of the greatest challenges. Once they harvest their produce, most of them trade it for cash. This makes it challenging to have any record to prove their creditworthiness. As a consequence, most of them lack credit facilities, which are crucial in expanding their operations. Shamba Records solves this for the farmers. Recording their transactions on the blockchain enables the farmers to obtain them and present them to any credit facility. The startup has associated with several credit facilities that it connects the farmers with. In the future, it intends to lend to the farmers from its balance sheet, making it a one-stop-shop for all the farmers’ needs.
Although being a relatively new technology, blockchain has been widely embraced in Kenya, Maina said in a statement. The East African country has the greatest internet and smartphone penetration in Africa. The ICT Ministry is recently operating a blockchain task force to discover the best way to adopt the country’s technology. To provide to even the least tech-savvy farmers, Shamba Records utilizes a combination of online and offline platforms, from USSD and bulk SMS to mobile and web portals.
Shamba Records has set its sights on international expansion shortly, both within Africa and beyond. Maina stated in a statement, “We have established partnerships that will see us launch our product in Uganda and Ghana in the next year. More to this, we have a lot more interested parties outside Africa, especially the Asian market, who are keen on our solution. Apart from that, we’re always on a continuous journey of improving our platform both technologically and value-wise to the customers.”