African startups create new income opportunities for smallholders

MOTHERLAND is an initiative that combines local startups, smallholder farmers and educational work to bring about sustainable change in rural communities in Africa. A pilot project, made possible by the support of the knodel foundation, is starting in Siaya County, Kenya, for this purpose.


Despite the abundant resources and fertile land in numerous regions across the African continent, poverty and food shortages continue to affect many people. Farmers in particular face challenges such as low yields, significant crop losses, and low market prices.

Take Joseph, for instance, a farmer in Siaya County, who is currently experiencing crop losses of up to 60%. These losses can be attributed to various factors including inadequate local infrastructure, lack of training, and limited access to technology and markets.

To address these issues, MOTHERLAND steps in. The social business plays a vital role in connecting smallholder farmers with innovative African startups. Additionally, it provides education on sustainable agriculture for local children.

Holistic solutions through the creation of a start-up ecosystem

MOTHERLAND takes on the role of an “Ecosystem Orchestrator” rather than simply a solution provider. It closely collaborates with smallholder farmers to understand their specific needs. Simultaneously, the social business actively seeks out local startups that have the capacity to address the challenges faced by these farmers.

Recognizing that a single startup may not provide a complete solution, MOTHERLAND facilitates collaboration among multiple startups. By doing so, it supports these startups in exploring new opportunities while simultaneously bridging the gaps in the farmers’ value chain.

In practical terms, “eProd,” a resource planning software solution tailored specifically to the needs of rural regions in Africa, is being used to optimize harvest times, communications, payments and more. Additionally, another startup called “duhqa” utilizes this valuable information to match supply and demand, plan the optimal harvest time, and handle logistics effectively. To minimize losses, the startup “KOAN” offers on-site training on efficient harvesting and post-harvest techniques. Finally, the harvested crops are accurately weighed, documented, and traded efficiently to ensure fair prices for the farmers.

Thanks to this comprehensive approach, smallholders like Joseph are now able to sell their crops at a 20-25% higher price per kilogram and triple their sales. MOTHERLAND is currently collaborating with 260 smallholder farmers and has ambitious plans to extend the initiative to millions more throughout Africa, with the backing of the knodel foundation. The selection of participating startups will be tailored precisely to meet the specific local requirements.

Furthermore, the additional profits generated from this initiative will be allocated to a community fund. This fund supports various projects, including the “Young Earth Guardians” program, an educational initiative by MOTHERLAND that teaches children about the importance of regenerative agriculture.