Jamila Abass on how engineering activity can solve inefficiencies in developing countries.
Jamila Abass is helping farmers trapped in subsistence agriculture move into commercial farming by leveraging available mobile technology to provide needed real-time information and incentivise collective action. Jamila’s technology platform links farmers to markets and creates an ecosystem of knowledge exchange, aggregation, and opportunity spotting that shifts them into productive commercial farming. Thus creating a path out of poverty for these farmers and enabling them to meet the growing demands for produce across the region.
As a young programmer in Nairobi, Jamila was involved in various technology forums, incubators, and support groups. She was a leader of AkiraChix, a group of Nairobi-based hackers, developers, and programmers, and she regularly participated in business plan competitions and hackathons. But even while hanging out in a lime green iHub incubator space or surfing the web at a chic Nairobi café, the struggles farmers in rural Kenya faced nagged at her. Surrounded by techies and smart phones and young developers - the idea for M-Farm was born. A few winning runs at local business plan competitions, many accolades in the international press, and several years later, M-Farm is poised to spread far beyond its current membership and transform the lives of many thousands more small farmers.