Reports by GSMA, CTA, and Disrupt Africa consistently position Kenya as a global leader in the number of tech ventures and digital solutions for agriculture (DSAs). By GSMA’s 2020 report which tracked 713 active DSAs, 437 (61%) were in sub-Saharan Africa. In the report focusing on low and middle income countries, Kenya led with 95 instances and Nigeria was second with about half of Kenya’s number. The trends suggest fragmentation in digital agriculture ecosystems among other pitfalls. Studies have questioned the ability of these DSAs to scale out so as to significantly impact a sector that is the mainstay of most sub-Saharan African economies (including Kenya).
My co-authors and I sought to diversify the thinking about efforts to unlock the promise of digitalization and digital transformation of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa as a contribution to literature. We conceptualized an aggregator platform for digital services in agriculture (AP4DSA). This is a special type of digital platform for agriculture whose characteristics can partially be observed in nascent platforms such as Safaricom’s DigiFarm, EcoFarmer in Zimbabwe, Bayer’s Climate FieldView, and an “imaginary instance of Google play store for agriculture”. Such a platform can be expected to address DSA discoverability challenges including fragmentation of the digital agriculture ecosystem, absence of a one-stop-shop, and an unmet desire for comprehensiveness. My co-authors were Prof. Timothy Waema, Prof. Bitange Ndemo, Dr. Tonny Omwansa and Dr. Heike Baumüller
We proceeded to examine the underlying structure of value creation sources in such a digital platform as perceived by likely users in Kenya. Our findings suggest that sources of value creations can be explained in three themes, namely (a) platform-wide efficiency (b) loyalty-centredness (c) platform inclusivity. We have recently published the findings in the peer-reviewed Digital Business Journal via Elsevier. Click on the link or graphical abstract below to access the full article.
The article is readable online and can also be downloaded freely as a pdf on the basis of the creative commons (CCBY4.0) license. Our findings should be of interest to practitioners such as tech entrepreneurs, accelerator program managers, and large tech corporations endeavouring to actualize the digital transformation of agriculture. Policymakers seeking to unlock the transformative power of digital platforms for agriculture through may also find our findings useful. I look forward to feedback on our findings that could further inform my ongoing research on the prospects of AP4DSAs in sub-Saharan Africa.