Farm Shop: Scaling Access to Agricultural Inputs in Kenya (CIFSRF Phase 2)

Access to farm inputs is difficult for most small farmers across sub-Saharan Africa. The region has poorly developed distribution and retail networks. Quality control is weak. This project aims to increase the productivity, food security, and incomes of smallholder farming households in Kenya. Serving farmers at the retail level Started in 2012, Farm Shop is a network of retailers that provides advice to farmers and distributes farm inputs, or products, in rural areas. Its goal is to improve the quality and transparency of goods and services. Farm Shop is an innovative social franchise business model that secures high-quality inputs at affordable prices by leveraging economies of scale. It also offers training for franchisees and farmers on how to use the inputs. In its first three years in operation, Farm Shop created 25 shops to serve the needs of more than 60,000 small-scale farmers (of which 48% are women). These shops have shown a proof of concept detailing the benefits of a social franchise business model at a pilot scale. The challenge now is to take this model to scale, while ensuring sustainability and success without sacrificing quality. In particular, it will be important to maintain sensitivity to women's needs. Creating a self-sustaining model This project will test ways to increase the scale of Farm Shop's operations to reach the estimated break-even point of 150 shops and become self-sustaining. The project team will investigate the elements needed for success, and the conditions needed to scale up social franchises. This expansion will allow the business to generate employment, and improve the efficiency of the farm inputs delivery mechanism for an estimated 360,000 small and medium producers in Kenya. The potential is vast. These small farmers could double or triple their yields, increasing incomes and generating important multiplier effects on the entire economy. Project funding This project is funded under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), an IDRC program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada (formerly Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada).

View all related project outputs in the IDRC Digital Library.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, August 14, 2015


28 months

IDRC Officer

Marco Rondon

Total funding

CA$ 1,500,000


Kenya, Canada, South of Sahara


Canadian International Food Security Research Fund

Project Leader

Kevin McKague

Project Leader

Donald Hamilton


Board of Governors of Cape Breton University

Institution Country


Institution Website