Webinar: Using technology to increase market and finance access for smallholders


IIED hosted a webinar on 24 March 2020 to discuss an experience of linking smallholder farmers to targeted services and buyers and to strengthen their position with other actors.

24 March 2020
Last updated 28 May 2020
A farmer standing in a field holds a mobile phone to her ear

A Kenyan farmer uses a mobile phone in the field (Photo: Neil Palmer, CIAT via WikimediaCC BY-SA 2.0)

An initiative led by IIED is generating lessons on how rural producers, their associations and wider communities can best empower themselves to articulate their development priorities, make informed choices, and negotiate effectively for equitable partnerships with progressive private sector actors in commercial agriculture.

This webinar, part of the 'Empowering Producers In Commercial agriculture’ (EPIC) project, shared and debated experiences around a commercial digital platform linking smallholder farmers in East Africa to targeted services and to strengthen their position with other actors such as buyers, input traders and financial institutions.

The e-Granary platform, an ambitious venture initiated by the East Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), is in its relatively early days serving producers in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. It has generated many lessons and challenges to overcome.

This online seminar on Tuesday, 24 March was designed for rural producer organisations, private sector, civil society and development agencies.

Event coverage

Read IIED's blog setting out some of the main points covered during the webinar

Watch a recording of the webinar below, or on IIED’s YouTube channel.

View Stephen Muchiri's presentation on IIED's SlideShare site.


An introduction to the topic with perspectives from the panellists was followed by a facilitated discussion among webinar participants. The panellists considered questions of interest to practitioners working on similar issues in different contexts such as:

  • How can the platform best support farmers in their relationships with other actors?
  • What conditions need to be in place for the platform to work?
  • What challenges are likely to arise, and how can they be addressed?
  • What top tips are there for adapting the platform to other contexts (commodities, supply chains, geographies)?

About the speakers

Stephen Muchiri is executive director of EAFF and CEO of e-Granary. EAFF is a regional network of national farmer unions, federations and co-operatives in 10 countries. EAFF is a non-political, not-for-profit, regional umbrella network of smallholder family farmers of Eastern Africa. Its role is to promote the interests of farmers on issues touching on policies, markets, productivity, capacity, information and regional integration as well as to voice farmers' concerns in socio-economic development. Muchiri holds a Bachelor and Master of Science degree in Horticulture and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management.

Giles Lewis, grain and oilseed trader – East Africa at ETG. ETG is a leading integrated agricultural supply chain group with operating entities located across 40 countries responsible for procurement, warehousing, processing and/or manufacturing of finished goods. ETG also specialises in transporting and distributing products.

Caroline Kariuki, project manager at VisionFund Kenya. VisionFund Kenya is a micro-finance institution that aims to offer effective credit as well as economic empowerment through business support for rural communities.

This webinar was the fourth in a series of events organised under the IIED-led EPIC project. EPIC is funded by UK aid from the UK government (DFID) through its Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA) programme.

This is an IIED ‘legal tools’ webinar. 'Legal tools for citizen empowerment' is an IIED-led collaborative initiative to help local communities protect their rights in relation to natural resource investments.


About the webinar: Thierry Berger (thierry.berger@iied.org)

About EPIC: Emily Polack (emily.polack@iied.org)

About IIED's legal tools work: Lorenzo Cotula (lorenzo.cotula@iied.org), team leader, legal tools; principal researcher, IIED's Natural Resources research group