Safaricom eyes rural farmers in internet network upgrade.

Safaricom is betting on farmers in rural areas to generate traffic on its internet infrastructure, the upgrade of which seeks to ease their access to markets. The operator said it would channel a portion of its annual KES 32 billion capital expenditure to improving internet access in the rural areas, with an aim of hitting 80 per cent 3G mobile network coverage across the country. The operator has earmarked 23,000 public primary schools for internet connectivity, which is expected to help bring on board rural homes and businesses.


Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore told the Africa Green Revolution Forum that such efforts are critical in advancing an agricultural renaissance as it will allow the building of internet platforms that can foster research and farm-to-market links. He said that access to the web and mobile value added services, including banking services, would promote market access, as farmers could seize local and international opportunities.


“We are not reinventing the wheel. Large scale farmers in floricultural and horticultural fields are currently relying on mobile broadband Internet access, to exploit market opportunities and manage irrigation systems. Similar strategies, can easily be cascaded and customized for adoption by small-scale farmers,” Collymore said.

The CEO also crowed of the company’s various products which include micro-credit solutions delivered through Safaricom M-shwari and KCB M-PESA mobile money platforms which have been of help to many farmers..



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