Google Announces USD 900 K Grant to train Kenyan Farmers

By  |  October 17, 2018

Over the next one year the digital skills of 100k Kenyan farmers is set to change following the announcement of a USD 900 K training grant by in partnership with One Acre Fund.  This training will help the farmers acquire top tech skills necessary for them to tap into knowledge and connections available in the digital world to transform their livelihoods through increased production. One Acre Fund which is based in the Western Kenya town of Kakamega has already gained eleven years of  experience in providing training to small scale  farmers in this area in addition to giving them products and services on credit. The mode and depth of the Google training was not immediately disclosed.

This development is in line with Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta whose big-four agenda includes boosting food security. Farmers’ ability to access information, keep records on farm production and market access will go a long way in impacting skills that would help them increase their productivity, connect with peers, access latest farming information and even fetch better prices for their produce. In its website, One Acre Fund reports that more than 50 million smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa are locked in annual cycles of hunger because they’re unable to grow enough food to feed their families. This Training is therefore an important step in improving their livelihood through necessary digital skills that are part of today’s modern world.

Google Kenya Country Manager Charles Murito is reported noting that “Agriculture sector employs over 40 per cent of the total population, contributing to 30 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Kenya. We want to see the power of technology elevate small scale farming. We hope that through this initiative, we will see a positive impact on food security, job creation and GDP growth”  This development will also benefit startups in the ecosystem that either provide or sell training equipment and services as well as extension services for animal and crop health. Those in the fiend of payments to farmers will also benefit as this forms part of the scope covered by the grant.  Google’s initiative in Kenya has already seen  over 200,000 job seekers receive training  and over 400,000 businesses impacted  on various digital skills relevant to their career goals and business needs. In March this year, their Launchpad Accelerator Africa program provided  over USD 3 mn in equity-free support to Kenyan startups including Pezesha, Flexpay, Cloud9xp, and PayGo Energy.

Image credit: One Acre Fund

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