Disruptive Agricultural Technology Challenge and Conference

April 5-6, 2019

Nairobi, Kenya


Creating an innovation ecosystem to connect a million Kenyan farmers to disruptive agricultural technologies

The World Bank Group and the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility are pleased to announce a knowledge and innovation challenge conference on scaling up disruptive digital technologies in the agricultural sector in Kenya.

The Disruptive Agricultural Technology (DAT) Challenge and Conference aims to provide a forum to discuss the opportunities offered by disruptive digital technologies to increase productivity, and access to services and markets in the agricultural sector. Several promising digital technology innovators in agriculture will share their stories and plans. Leaders of public and private institutions, technology companies, incubators, researchers, the business community, policymakers, financial institutions, and the donor community will gather together to learn from and network with each other.

We are looking for innovators, organizations, and businesses with a disruptive digital solution using digital and other AG Technologies.

The challenge will be organized around themes and challenges faced in Kenyan agriculture. 


  1. Advisory and Information for Agricultural Productivity: This theme covers extension services and Climate Smart Agriculture advisory, as well as the delivery of credible and actionable information in real-time directly to Kenyan farmers to increase productivity. This will help them transition from time, labor, input and resource-intensive practices to more efficient and sustainable planning, production, and management systems.
  2. Market Linkages: Looks at tools to help Kenyan farmers produce high quality, high yield crops as well as help link them to markets, including digital platforms to sell farm produce.
  3. Farmer Financial Inclusion: It focuses on innovators, organizations and businesses that link Kenyan farmers to credit and savings products, insurance, and other innovative financial services, enabling them to invest in their farms.
  4. Data Analytics and Agricultural Intelligence: This challenge is open to solutions that have leveraged data infrastructure, remote sensing and mapping technologies, precision agriculture tools, and computing power to enable data-driven decision-making by policymakers, public agencies, and private service providers in the agriculture sector.
  • Challenge 1: Advisory and Information of Agricultural Productivity


    The average productivity of major crops in Kenya has not increased at a significant rate annually.  The maize productivity has increased by 17% over the last 10 years resulting in an annual increase of about 1.7%.  There are multiple reasons why growth in productivity has been slow. These include low access to extension and advisory services, including digitally enabled agripreneurs, lack of inputs and quality data. To reach their full potential, farmers need to have access to the latest technologies and data.

    Climate change is also having a significant impact on farmers. About 98% of Kenya’s agricultural systems are rain-fed and highly susceptible to climate change and variability. Adoption of climate smart practices can help mitigate the impact of climate change and ensure predictability in yields for the farmers. Specifically, relying on input data such as soil and weather information, can help farmers increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations, and improve sustainable planning, production, and management systems.


    How will your model help ensure Kenyan farmers have access to the latest knowledge, training, practices and data, and mechanization best suited for them?


    We are looking for innovators, organizations, and businesses that have disrupted the lack of access to advisory services, data for farmers, and climate smart practices.  

    Challenge 2: Market linkages


    A significant percentage of Kenyan farmers are impacted by poorly structured value chains, which directly impact their yields and quality. A Kenyan farmer growing maize typically harvests around two tons per hectare. When the same farmer is able to access inputs including seeds and fertilizers, mechanization technology, and training on better farm practices, his yields increase to 5-7 tons per hectare.

    Additionally, 83% of the Kenyan farm households sell part of their crop produce. Hence, fast and reliable access to markets is critical for their success. The farmers, majority of whom are in rural areas and sell their produce at harvest, experience challenges of asymmetric information in prices and selling opportunities as well as limited market access for their products. While markets may exist, one of the limiting factors is not connecting on time.


    Given the limited market linkages for both inputs and production, how can you facilitate market links between buyers and sellers along the value chain?


    We are looking for innovators, organizations and businesses that have disrupted the poor access to forward and backward market linkages with a disruptive digital solution using digital and other AG Technologies.  

    Challenge 3: Farmer Financial inclusion


    Financial inclusion has significantly increased in rural Kenya. However, access to agriculture finance for small and medium farmers is still limited in Kenya. Only 10% of the smallholder farmers have access to financial services including credit and insurance. The quantity of credit is also inadequate with only 4% of credit supply flowing to the agriculture sector. 

    Many factors have hampered access to financial services. These include lack of reliable data to support agricultural lending decisions, lack of collaterals to secure financing, the high transaction cost of accessing and delivering financial services to rural areas, lack of data platforms for assessing risk and delivering financial services. Additionally, the high cost of credit translates into a lack of demand for credit by farmers.


    How can your technology help to expand coverage of financial services to farmers, including credit, savings and other financial services?


    We are looking for innovators, organizations, and businesses that have disrupted the existing situation where most farmers have poor access to financial services (outreach) and the cost of accessing credit and insurance services are high.   

    Challenge 4: Data Analytics and Agricultural Intelligence


    The rapid development of data infrastructure, profusion of digital technologies, and low-cost precision agriculture devices (ICT, Drone Aerial Surveillance, Satellite GIS, Weather Data Analytics, Blockchain, Internet of Things) in Kenya has the potential to deliver farm-level, geospatial, and real-time analytics to inform policies and targeted investments by governments and service providers.


    How can your solution enable low-cost collection, analysis, and visualization of high-quality, high-frequency and high-resolution agriculture data to produce maps, farmer registries, project dashboards, climate advisories, market forecasts and other relevant analytics?


    We are looking for innovators, organizations, and businesses that have disrupted agricultural intelligence, and decision-making by leveraging the emerging agriculture data infrastructure, digital technologies, and precision agriculture tools.

  • Eligibility Criteria

    • Must be serving farmers in Kenya
    • Must have a revenue generating business model
    • Must be in validation/scaling stage of your business
    • Must address one of the 4 challenge themes
    • Must have achieved at least 3X impact (ex. three times the average annual increase)
    • Must combine digital technologies, data analytics and innovations, IOT or innovative business models and digital and analog outreach
    • Must be crop or commodity specific, with the exception of financial inclusion track

    Selection criteria

    1. Scale: We are looking for innovative solutions which have been tried at a minimum scale of 3,000 farmers in terms of outreach and impact.  We will look for this achievement in Kenya and any other country in the Africa region.
    2. Business model and sustainability: We are looking for those who have developed proof of concept and have reached a viable and sustainable business model to deliver services and have sustained it over at least two years.
    3. Impact data and evidence: We are looking for innovations which have data and evidence of impact on productivity.
    4. Inclusion: We are looking for inclusive innovation with a focus on smallholders and women farmers.
    5. Ecosystem engagement: We are interested in understanding how the innovators have engaged with other ecosystem players.
    6. Scaling-up aspirations: We will ask the innovators to describe how they plan to scale up the innovation and how they can get to 10,000 farmers in the next two years as part of the Million Farmer Challenge.

    Click here to apply: APPLY ONLINE

    Please contact Vivek Prasad with any questions at

    The deadline for submissions is 26 March, 2019 (11:59 pm, Nairobi time).

  • Selection Process 

    The invited agencies will attend a pitch bootcamp one week prior to the event where they will receive additional mentoring as needed. Following a panel discussion on the relevant challenge category, the invited agencies will make their pitches and presentations to the Jury at the Challenge event, which will be followed by a live Q&A session with the Jury. The five participants who meet the challenge criteria will be invited to join the ‘Million Farmer Scale Up Platform.

    If selected, you will be invited to attend a Bootcamp in Nairobi on March 28th and 29th.

  • Awards: 

    Each selected innovator will work on increasing outreach and impact to 10,000 farmers.  Data on impact and outreach will be collected through a data collection and analytics platform and would be transparent to all the participants. Awards will be provided per unit of impact achieved through the scale of disruption, outreach, and impact. These will be developed through an open design workshop with selected innovators. Each innovator will also be provided mentoring and other support throughout the period.  The final list of awardees will be announced at the event. Specific monetary amounts for each award will be decided after the design workshop.