Supporting agricultural development through mobile platforms
Client name: GSMA, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID
Duration: 2010 - 2014
Location: Mali, Tanzania, Kenya, India
Coffey managed GSMA’s mFarmer Initiative Challenge Fund to support the development of mobile services that increase the productivity and incomes of small-holder farmers in the developing world.
One of the biggest challenges faced by small-holder farmers in the developing world is a lack of access to relevant and actionable agricultural information, such as market prices for crops and up to date weather reports. The mFarmer program was implemented within the context of the broader GSMA Mobile Agriculture (mAgri) initiative, established to catalyse the development of mobile solutions in service to the agricultural sector.
As part of this program, a challenge fund was initiated to incentivise mobile network operators to achieve the key objectives of addressing the information gap between farmers and agricultural data.
As the manager of this fund, Coffey developed a management policy that ensured the fund management process was robust, efficient and transparent. Coffey worked closely with mobile network operators and other public and private sector agricultural organisations through the complete grant application, submission, implementation and reporting processes. Its aim was to find and implement programs that had the most chance to have positive effects on small-holder farmers and also generate financial returns for investors.
Throughout the program, best practices, tools and solutions were shared between grant partners and mFarmer projects to enable scaling up opportunities and create a knowledge base around mobile for agricultural development platforms.
Over the duration of the program, Coffey monitored the progress and outcomes of projects against their original applications and created a framework to measure the impact of mFarmer projects. Coffey conducted quarterly reviews to assess the progress and financial probity of each grantee project.
Through the competitive grant application process, in the first funding round, four projects were selected and provided USD400,000 grants to develop and scale Agricultural Value Added services.
All of these services provide up to date market and weather information, through SMS, voice and other mobile technologies to enable economic growth in the agricultural sector. They were all designed with a view to long-term sustainability and growth.