- Wefarm is an agri-tech startup founded by Kenny Ewan in 2015.
- The company provides a peer-to-peer networking platform for smallholder farmers.
- Wefarm uses machine learning technology to connect farmers and can be accessed without internet.
Founder and CEO Kenny Ewan created Wefarm to provide a community-driven approach to information sharing. He believed that the millions of small-scale farmers globally needed a tool to share useful knowledge amassed through generations, without requiring internet. Wefarm users can connect with others and share knowledge, resources and support, even in rural areas without internet access.
Globally, the smallholder agricultural market is worth over $400 billion. The company states “Over 1 billion smallholder farmers produce 70% of the world’s food, and four of the five most traded commodities on earth, yet the vast majority lack access to the internet and even basic information to help them solve problems or share ideas. No one has built a platform for these farmers. Until Wefarm.” Wefarm acts as the world’s largest farmer-to-farmer digital network, with more than 1 million farmers in Kenya and Uganda alone.
The Wefarm network can be accessed via SMS or online, enabling farmers in rural areas without internet access to share information. The questions range from farming techniques to business ideas, in an effort to improve livelihoods. The platform shares more than 40,000 questions and answers from farmers every day.
How Does it Work?
The knowledge-sharing network uses machine learning technology to provide farmers with crowd-sourced information on agricultural innovation and problem-solving. Farmers can gain valuable insight into profitability and yield increase which can drastically improve livelihoods. They can also access and share information surrounding the effects of climate change, solving diseases, irrigation systems, seeds, fertilisers, loans and much more to build on their agricultural knowledge.
Small-scale farmers in rural areas can access the network by sending a question via text. The SMS is analysed by machine learning technology and categorised by language and content before being matched to a group of relevant farmers. Wefarm then selects the best-matched responses to the question based on the user’s profile and expertise. The user will then receive multiple answers and advice via SMS. This method has proven incredibly successful in helping small-scale farmers, with over 70% of Wefarm users having improved their farms and livelihoods as a result.
Wefarm in 2020
At the beginning of the year, Wefarm launched its first marketplace for farmers. CEO Kenny Ewan says “we are really excited about the amazing growth it’s experiencing and how our farmers are responding to the service. We’ll also be looking at expanding to new markets, and into new commercial services for our users in 2020.”
In February, WeFarm, together with other agri-tech startups Illuminum Greenhouses and Juhudi Kilimo, secured £660,000 in grant co-funding from the UK’s innovation agency ‘Innovate UK ‘. The grant will allow the companies to develop Africa’s first solar-powered smart sensors AI and machine learning technology.