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Sprout Newsletter Nov 2022


Welcome to the third edition of Sproutings, a newsletter by Sprout, an open content platform. Sprout is a project of Mercy Corps Agrifin. We're sending this to you, as a valued member of the Sprout community to share news, call for partnerships, and more. Sign up here to subscribe.



Opinion Editorial by Kevin Gitau Ng’ang’a Sprout Senior Agronomist


The short rains growing season has just arrived in East Africa and as farmers brace themselves for a vigorous planting period, it becomes imperative to ensure farmers have access to relevant agricultural information. There’s enough empirical evidence that access to reliable and actionable information enhances farmers’ ability to improve their yields and build resilience. The Kenya Meteorological Department recently published the likelihood of most regions in Kenya to suffer from poor distribution of rainfall, impacting farming patterns and this holds true for other countries in the region as well. With this challenge, it becomes critical to provide timely information to farmers to enable them to adjust their farming techniques. For instance, with the weather patterns shifting, farmers must be informed about new and resilient seed varieties, methods to adopt climate smart practices, innovations and management practices. Farmers can still take advantage of depressed rains to grow crops that are drought resistant and take a short time to mature. For example, instead of growing conventional maize varieties, which are water intensive, farmers can grow drought resistant varieties of maize such as the Katumani composite variety which takes 3 to 4 months to mature. Other maize varieties that do well with reduced rainfall such as H511, H12, DH01, DH02, DH03, DH04, DH09 DH10 and PH4 (for coastal areas), and/or shift to sorghum, millet, cassava or sweet potatoes. Ensuring that farmers have access to such and other relevant information the Sprout platform was launched to add value. We’re extremely humbled by the ecosystem’s trust in us and facilitating us with now over 75 crop and allied value chain information that cuts across climate change, regenerative agriculture and financial literacy. You can explore the Sprout platform here. Here’s a quick demo to help you navigate the platform. It is well known that agriculture capacity building provides critical support to farmers that struggle with new challenges posed by climate change and changing socio-economic environments. We also ran a webinar in 2020 that elaborates the importance of digital e-extension. The Sprout team has worked with expert institutions to develop, acquire and host content that enables farmers to be more climate conscious, build their resilience and increase their yields. We’re also extremely encouraged by farmer facing organisations’ (FFOs) faith in us to use the content on Sprout to inform and deepen their engagement with their community of farmers with over 7 Million messages sent to 1.5 million farmers to date.

What is your organization’s plan for enabling farmers to be better prepared for this growing season? Can Sprout content help? Please reach out to us if you’d like to learn more at info@sproutopencontent.com.



We invite you to join Mercy Corps Agrifins full day in person and virtual event. Sprout and our partners will be offering a demonstration of Sprout’s new Dynamic Weather Advisory Service, powered by Tomorrow.io.


Smallholder farmers operate amidst numerous shocks that threaten their livelihoods including effects of climate change such as proliferation of disease incidences and pest infestation e.g., the recent desert locust invasion, droughts and floods and pandemics like Covid-19. The booming digital technology era provides a viable pathway of building farmer resilience against the shocks. Mercy Corps AgriFin would like to welcome participants to the 6th Annual Learning Event (ALE) on November 22, 2022, in Nairobi, Kenya. The event themed “Developing smallholder farmer resilience in the face of global issues” will create a perfect learning forum to share tested digital technologies and practices that strengthen the resilience of smallholder farmers. The event will consist of keynote speeches, presentations, launches, demonstrations, panel discussions, quizzes and a full day marketplace where great agriculture related innovative solutions will be on display. To register for the event, click here


Since September 2021, Sprout has expanded rapidly, with more than 1.7M farmers reached and over 7M messages sent.


At Sprout, we’re constantly learning from our Farmer Facing Organizations (FFOs) and aligning their content needs to drive our approach to relevant content. We’re excited to announce that in the past month, we onboarded Shambapride, AgriBora, Farmshine, and Kwikbasket on Sprout to educate their community of farmers on good agricultural practices (GAP) for Mango, avocado, Macadamia, onions, tomatoes, maize. We strongly believe in the power of partnerships to overcome the challenges to scale agri advisory services. Sprout is very well placed to narrow the gap between research conducted by expert local, regional and global agronomic content creators by transforming it to be digital ready and farmer friendly so that FFOs can easily access and adapt the content for their farmers needs. Digital agri extension through Sprout is a win-win for content creators who find it challenging to disseminate the information directly to farmers at scale,while on the other hand FFOs are challenged with inaccessibility to lean, low resource intensive trusted digital content modules that can immensely help them with engaging with their farming communities.

“Sprout content has been of great help to our farmers and hub coordinators since we started using it in September this year. So far we have reached over 7,400 farmers with bulk messages (advisories) on maize, beans, sorghum, apiculture, rice, tomatoes, and Irish potatoes across the counties of Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Nakuru, West Pokot, Uasin Gishu, and Narok. A group of farmers who got a translation of the content in Dholuo - and also shared their feedback on how helpful the seed variety messages were - requested the incorporation of local languages to help them get value from the content. It's worth noting that the Sprout Content covers all value chain activities right from site selection, management to marketing; with the Agribora platform disseminating these as broadcasts to farmers.” Mathews Ogolla, Customer Success Lead, AgriBora

Calling Nigerian Farmer Facing Organization Partners


SPROUT is increasing its footprint in West Africa, leveraging Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire as entry points. There’s something interesting brewing within Sprout for Nigeria, watch out this space for more; while Côte d'Ivoire is pioneering Sprout content for Francophone countries. AgriFin’s Nigeria Landscape study indicates that the country is currently capturing just a small fraction of its potential for digital development and this couldn’t be more true in the agricultural sector. The study mentioned that 77% of the farmers have used a mobile phone before; 81% have a voter’s card, which allows access to financial services. However, there is a low uptake of digital financial services which can be partially explained by low digital and financial literacy. It also revealed that Nigerian smallholders are progressively willing to adopt digital tools when offered the right support. This is why SPROUT is actively identifying farmer facing organisations (FFOs) in Nigeria to better understand their content needs and curate digital ready content to increase technical knowledge amongst smallholder farmers. Are you interested in learning more? Reach out to our lead in Nigeria- Dolapo Olusanmoku at olusanmokun@mercycorps.org




The Sprout team is growing. It's our pleasure to introduce you to our not so new Team members!


Kevin Gitau Ng'ang'a; Senior Agronomist-Sprout platform, is responsible for everything agronomy related,including content transformation. He is an agricultural economist with a background in agricultural business, agronomy and applied economics. He brings exceptional knowledge in agri-based ecosystems with over nine years of multi-sectoral work experience in research, data-driven digital agriculture, project management, business development in agriculture, agronomy and M-agri technologies. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and holds a Bsc in Agribusiness Management and Enterprise Development from the same University. Michael Meisel; Chief Technical Architect (CTA), is a technologist, team builder, and an artist who is passionate about finding simple solutions to complex problems. He has spent his career helping startups build their core technologies and teams from the ground up. Michael has built everything from interactive computer network visualisations to zero-maintenance, solar-powered PCs for remote villages in Africa. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA (with a focus in network protocols) and a B.A. in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Ritika Sood; Partnerships and Business Development Lead, is a seasoned professional with over ten years of experience in developing markets, sharing expertise at the intersection of partnerships, digital inclusion, private sector, and innovation across East Africa and India, specifically in the agriculture sector. She's worked with several multilateral organizations including the UN (UN-Habitat and ITC), Technoserve, and Arifu in the private sector. She holds an MBA and MA in International Economics & Innovation (SAIS- Johns Hopkins Univ.). She also manages Sprout's marketing initiatives.



Please reach out to us if you have questions at info@sproutopencontent.com or if you would like to be featured in an upcoming issue! Please share this newsletter freely and if you aren’t on this newsletter list, click here to sign up. The Sprout Team


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