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Digital Inclusion

Nigeria's ThriveAgric partners with Visa to expand into Kenya

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Nigerian Agritech startup ThriveAgric is partnering with digital payments firm Visa to support its expansion into Kenya as it launches more hubs to support up to 10,000 local farmers.

ThriveAgric was founded in Nigeria with the aim to empower smallholder farmers by leveraging technology to access finance, improve productivity and sales, and promote food security.

ThriveAgric was the global winner of the 2022 Visa Everywhere Initiative – an open innovation program that helps startups unlock new opportunities – and has plans to set up local hubs to support farmers in the five Kenyan counties of Busia, Homabay, Migori, Nandi and Narok.

"Our partnership with Visa marks an exciting new chapter in our journey as we double down on our Kenyan expansion which started last year and establish local hubs in Busia and Homabay counties," said ThriveAgric co-founder Ayo Arikawe.

The current hubs serve as learning centers where farmers can gather for training sessions and facilitate the distribution of inputs.

The hubs will allow agents to aggregate produce during harvest time and enable farmers to deliver their produce to the hubs after harvest and receive payment based on the quality that meets market specifications.

ThriveAgric has over 450 warehouses and works with over 800,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya – including more than 5,000 young people.

The agritech company aims to provide $500 million in credit to 10 million smallholder farmers by 2027 and to double those numbers by 2050.

ThriveAgric works with over 800,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, including more than 5,000 young people.   (Source: ThriveAgric)
ThriveAgric works with over 800,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, including more than 5,000 young people.
(Source: ThriveAgric)

"Smallholder farmers are essential to the Kenyan economy and to our vision of expanding the digital payments ecosystem. This partnership will enable us to build a strong network to directly benefit farmers," added Eva Ngigi-Sarwari, country manager for Kenya at Visa.

Financial inclusion for farmers

Visa said that financial literacy and inclusion are fundamental factors of the program. Through training, farmers will gain tailored financial knowledge. The program will also facilitate access to financial services for the farmers, including bank accounts and Visa cards, to further enhance financial inclusion.

Even though the share of agriculture in Kenya's GDP has declined over the years, it is still key to Kenya's economy and accounts for about 21.3% of the nominal gross domestic product (GDP), according to data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). It also has an additional indirect contribution through linkages with other sectors.

The sector employs more than 40% of the total population and more than 70% of Kenya's rural people, cementing its importance to the overall economy.

However, challenges remain when it comes to accessing finance, with high interest rates being the most prominent barrier that farmers face.

Through providing access to capital, premium global markets and data-driven farming techniques, ThriveAgric has enabled farmers to significantly boost their yields and income, elevating their livelihoods and promoting food security.

In April 2024, ThriveAgric announced a partnership with Acorn-Rabobank to empower 30,000+ smallholder farmers in Nigeria with carbon credit access.

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In October 2023, ThriveAgric also partnered with Heifer International to launch the AYuTe (agriculture, youth and technology) project, aimed at providing 125,000 Nigerian farmers with access to financial inclusion.

In March 2022, the company raised $56.4 million in debt funding from local commercial banks and institutional investors. The raise also included a co-investment grant of $1.75 million from the USAID-funded West Africa Trade and Investment Hub to fund its growth plans in Ghana, Zambia and Kenya.

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*Top image source: freepik.

— The Staff, Connecting Africa

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