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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

FarmDrive fights for farmers in Africa

Emily Collins
The MIT Center for International Studies (CIS) hosted a virtual discussion on sustainable developments in Africa

On April 7, the MIT Center for International Studies (CIS) hosted a virtual discussion on sustainable developments in Africa.

The series was a partner production by MIT and TRUE Africa University (TAU). In a seven-week webinar series, which has been held weekly since March 3,  special guests discuss what they are doing to make strides for sustainability developments in Africa.

This time around, the panel featured Peris Nyaboe Bosire, the co-founder of FarmDrive.

FarmDrive is an alternative form of credit storing for smallholder farmers. It uses alternative data and machine learning to help these farmers get the finances they need to run their businesses.

Bosire grew up in southwest Kenya, describing it as an area that gets a lot of rain. This makes farming and living off agriculture difficult, which is where her passion to start FarmDrive came from.

“Our vision is to drive more capital to the agriculture sector in Africa,” said Bosire. “Agriculture is very transformational in changing the livelihoods of many people and creating income, not just for the families that live in the rural areas but for transforming ecosystems in the global markets.”

FarmDrive highlights the importance of alternative credit assessment models to provide smallholder farmers the finances they need. FarmDrive works to inform the public of the difficulties that smallholder farmers in Africa face.

Nearly 50 million smallholder farmers in Africa are struggling to support their families, which takes a toll on everyone in the agriculture business communities. This is due to the fact that less than 10% of their economic needs are met without access to credit.

With agriculture employing 65% of Africa’s population, FarmDrive is creating risk assessment models that are agriculturally relevant to develop loans for smallholder farmers who need them.

“When I think about smallholder farmers, I see business-people, I see investments, I see capital efficient businesses – small businesses that need financing to thrive,” said Bosire.

However, she does not believe that is what others see when they think of agriculture in Africa.

“The image that comes to mind when we talk about agriculture and Africa for most people is poverty, destitution and unemployment,” said Bosire. “But that’s not the case.”

 At FarmDrive, their main goal is to change those minds. By using data driven technology, the organization prompts finances where they are needed most: agriculture.

 While Bosire agrees that farming is risky, mostly due to weather conditions, she believes that FarmDrive’s risk management software will help banks understand the best ways to mitigate those risks while still supporting farmers.

 The last two MIT X TRUE Africa University webinars will be April 14 and April 21 at noon via Zoom. For more information about the events, visit their website.

Follow Emily on Twitter @emilyrcollins7

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About the Contributor
Emily Collins, Staff Writer | she/her
Emily is a senior majoring in print/web journalism and minoring in biology at Suffolk University. If she is not reading or writing, she can be found listening to music or spending time outside. Emily is also a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha and the Ramifications on campus. After college, Emily hopes to work as a wildlife journalist. Follow Emily on Twitter at @emilycSUCJN363.

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FarmDrive fights for farmers in Africa