Over the last month, we have traveled throughout Kenya to meet onion farmers, brokers and traders who buy and sell into the supply chains. While finding farmers is not so difficult in Kenya (there are an estimated 7 million smallholder farmers) the challenge was making sure we found farmers that would understand our system and be excited to participate in our pilot.
While we would have enjoyed testing our product with farmers in Nairobi, we knew that a holistic approach would only work if we had many users on our platform. In order to get buy-in on the platform, we felt an official announcement of our services was necessary.
In October we will launch a pilot program that runs for 5 months. In October and November, we will engage onion farmers in Western Kenya as they harvest their fields. Our goal will be to match these farmers with wholesale onion traders in Eldoret, Nakuru and Nairobi through our platform.
Meanwhile, we will be tracking farm management practices of onion farmers in Nyeri. They will begin planting in October, during the long rain season, and they will harvest in the beginning of 2016. The second half of our pilot will be to connect Nyeri onion farmers with wholesale onion traders in Eldoret, Nakuru and Nairobi through our platform.
Our goal is to see if our platform is a better sell when we monitor quality control at the farm. We hope to improve the supply chain, and increase the value of these farmers' crops!