Digital for Agriculture – D4Ag



AgTech start-ups are an important driver of agricultural transformation in Africa. By offering their digital solutions to smallholder farmers, AgTech start-ups contribute to food security, increased yields and improved living conditions. At the same time, however, they also face major challenges. Although they provide much-needed services to farmers, AgTech start-ups have difficulty reaching a sufficient number of farmers to create a profitable business model.

Make-IT in Africa has recognized digital agricultural platforms as a way to improve market access for AgTech start-ups. Platforms provide an environment where start-ups can gain access to a large number of farmers and reduce the cost of expansion, while bundling their product offering into a full range of “end-to-end” services. Digital for Agriculture (D4Ag) aims to improve the conditions for AgTech start-ups to scale digital solutions for the agricultural and food sector.


Expand opportunities

Improve the platform landscape to help AgTech start-ups reach new markets and customers.
D4Ag is committed to invest in platform operators to expand their functionalities and reach, as well as to promote digital solutions with other value chain actors. Start-ups benefit from opportunities to scale their digital solutions, while bundling services that are easily accessible and offer added value to farmers.


Build capacity

Help start-ups and platform operators integrate better.

D4Ag develops the capacity of platform operators and start-ups to integrate their solutions technically, agree on profitable business models for both sides, and understand the rules and regulations of their collaboration. Start-ups as well as platform operators are empowered to pursue and endorse mutually beneficial partnerships.


Broker partnerships

Facilitate collaboration between platform operators and start-ups.

D4Ag seeks to create partnerships between platform operators and start-ups based on an identified need or pain point from farmers. A structured engagement process is tailored to the involved parties’ interests, while creating a joint product vision leading to impact, uptake and viability.


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    Improve and expand functionality of existing platforms

    D4Ag supports existing platforms to expand their reach, functionality and services, enabling them to be more useful and accessible to farmers.

    Support for the Viazi Soko platform of the National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK), for example, enabled the registration of 20 000 new farmers onto the platform. NPCK was also able to expand the service offering of the Viazi Soko platform by forging 6 partnerships with input, fertilizer and agrochemical companies to offer their products via the platform. More functionalities to enhance the usability and viability of the platform will be added continuously.

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    Capacity building for start-ups and platform operators

    In order to help start-ups integrate with platform providers, D4Ag provides capacity building on technical interoperability, business models, and legal frameworks.

    Start-ups lack the needed technical skills to fully leverage the potential of being interoperable with platforms and struggle to identify adequate business models to secure sustainable revenue streams while integrating with platforms. D4Ag provided training and expertise to advise start-ups on these challenges. More than 40 entrepreneurs from the AgTech sector were trained, of which 30 were recognized for their outstanding commitment and performance with a certificate of excellence. Playbooks are created and published to ensure the trained content and skills are open to a wider audience.

    Platform operators often miss the huge business potential of opening up their platforms to 3rd parties, and they lack the knowledge to build the required architecture and incentives to integrate with start-ups. D4Ag therefore organises trainings and provides individual coaching to platform operators to build the necessary technical infrastructure, to adhere to set legal standards, and to offer attractive but viable business models to collaborate with start-ups.

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    Brokering partnerships between start-ups and platform operators

    Beyond capacity building, D4Ag brokers real connections between platform operators and start-ups to foster the integration of their services.

    For example, GIZ is supporting Mercy Corps in a structured engagement process to connect platform operators and start-ups. Based on an identified need for farmers, Mercy Corps assists both parties in jointly defining their value proposition, outlining mutual product offerings, settling on revenue sharing arrangements, defining roles and responsibilities, as well as regulating data sharing protocols. As a result, product roadmaps are created that build the foundation for the integration of services between platform operator and start-ups. This engagement has already enabled 6 start-ups to offer their services via existing D4Ag platforms. HelloTractor, for example, an AgTech start-up which enables small-holder farmers to access tractors remotely and at low cost, can now access over 1 million farmers through offering their service via the D4Ag-platform Digifarm in Kenya.


Filter Events

202118feb10:00Pan-African | Digital Agriculture Platforms Blueprints | The Emerging Potential for GovernmentsCountry:D4Ag

202111feb10:00Pan-African | Digital Agriculture Platforms Blueprints | Is Whatsapp for Business (API) the Future of Smallholder Farmer Digitization in Africa?Country:D4Ag

202104feb10:00Pan-African | Digital Agriculture Platforms Blueprints | Can Agribusinesses Pivot to Digital Agricultural Platforms?Country:D4Ag

202125jan10:00Pan-African | Launch of Digital Agriculture Platform Blueprint developed by GIZ and Mercy Corps AgriFinCountry:D4Ag

202015dec10:00Pan-African | Interview with AgTech Innovator Hello Tractor on the Power of PlatformsCountry:D4Ag

202004dec10:00Pan-African | Blogpost about Capacity Development for Platform OperatorsCountry:D4Ag

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Complete Farmer

Conative Labs


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