Introducing the Digital Agriculture Platform Blueprint developed by GIZ and Mercy Corps AgriFin


The D4Ag component of Make-IT in Africa identified large potential for transformation for Africa’s thriving technology innovators through partnerships withDigital Agriculture Platforms (DAP). Against this backdrop, D4Ag and Mercy Corps AgriFin in collaboration with Dalberg initiated a Digital Platforms for Agriculture (DAP) programme, a six-months initiative to work with platform partners and young technology innovators in Kenya and Nigeria exploring sustainable pathways to scale. As part of this work, D4Ag and AgriFin have produced a series of materials capturing insights into the key operational dynamics of emerging digital platforms for agriculture and present related learning to public audiences to drive ecosystem change.  

We are excited to launch the Digital Agriculture Platform Blueprintsconsisting of the Digital Agriculture Platform Blueprint White Paper and Blueprint Deep-Dive Report. Please access the full-length White Paper here, the summary of the Blueprint Deep-Dive here, and full-length Blueprint Deep-dive here. 


Introduction to the Digital Agriculture Platform Blueprint & White Paper 

Systemic issues of route to markets, capital and infrastructure, land, skills and knowledge as well as climate challenges impact the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Emerging digital technologies are helping smallholders tackle these challenges and Digital Agriculture Platforms play a key role in supporting the growth of new technology innovators in the digital agriculture ecosystem 

Digital Agricultural Platforms are systems and interfaces that form a commercial network or marketplace for business-to-business (B2B), business to customer (B2C) or customer to customer (C2C) transactions. They link various actors to boost productivity and inclusion of smallholder farmers that can bring a host of critical services for farmers and food systems.  Platforms take a diverse range of shapes. The White Paper focuses on those hosted by banks, mobile network operators (MNOs), large agricultural enterprises and governments which are the most developed in Sub-Saharan Africa.   


Source: Dalberg Analysis 2020


The study shows that DAPs are emerging as a scale vehicle for technology across ecosystems to help maximize impact, financial sustainability and outreach across different value chains and market segments. A DAP’s key assets, competencies and initial drivers – their core business or mandate, and why they decide to develop a platform to serve smallholder farmers – shape a large part of the platform’s product offerings and its sequencing, business model, and core target customer segments.  

Product mix, business model and target customers, coupled with organizational culture, are key factors that influence how platforms develop core capabilities and the partnerships required for operations. A conducive market environment influences the speed of growth, types of partners and talents available, as well as the types of platforms more likely to emerge and grow effectively. 

DAPs can help technology innovators overcome several constraints to scale their solutions to reach their target customers and tackle challenges such as lack of information on emerging technologies, high cost of customer acquisition, lack of established networks with potential partners and policy makers as the perennial lack of finance.  Alignment between innovators and platforms is key to ensuring that innovators can leverage their growth opportunities. 

The White Paper delves into the above in further detail, and outlines recommendations to help platforms, regulators, investors and other market stakeholders seeking to increase the growth of these models. It also outlines recommendations for tech innovators to engage with platforms to accelerate their own development. 

Please access the documents here: 

To access previous publications on this topic, please see here: 

Stay tuned for the release of additional materials accompanying the Digital Agriculture Platform Blueprint over the coming weeks! 

Read more on D4Ag here: Digital for Agriculture – D4Ag – Make-IT in Africa (

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