Fields of change: Maryanne Gichanga’s Impact on Smallholder Farming in Africa

Maryanne Gichanga, CEO and Co-founder of AgriTech Analytics Ltd, leads an innovative initiative leveraging AI-powered satellite data analytics and IoT sensors to combat soil degradation, crop pests, and diseases in Africa. After founding AgriTech Analytics, her team developed solutions that led to significant yield increases and expansion. Recognised for their impact, they received prestigious awards and have expanded their reach, benefiting thousands of farmers and agricultural communities. 


Meet Maryanne Gichanga, CEO and co-founder of AgriTech Analytics Ltd.

Maryanne Gichanga, the CEO and Co-founder of AgriTech Analytics Ltd, spearheads a pioneering initiative that leverages AI-powered satellite data analytics and integrates it with insights from crop and soil IoT solar-powered sensors. This innovative approach is designed to combat and reverse soil degradation, crop pests, and diseases, with the ultimate goal of eradicating hunger in Africa.


Having grown up on a modest 2-hectare piece of land in North Kinangop, Maryanne intimately understands the challenges faced by smallholder farmers. She has personally witnessed the devastating effects of soil degradation, climate change, and the proliferation of crop pests and diseases, all of which led to dwindling crop yields. During her university years, Maryanne joined forces with Douglas Mwangi, a fellow student hailing from a similar smallholder farming background. Together, they established Mkulima Kwanza Ltd, a company dedicated to supplying essential farm inputs to rural communities while also bridging the gap between farmers and markets for their produce.


The turning point came when Maryanne’s father faced the threat of foreclosure. Determined to find a solution, she founded AgriTech Analytics Ltd to alleviate her father’s financial burdens. Transforming her family’s farm into a testing ground, Maryanne assembled a team of engineers to develop and implement innovative solutions. Within a year, her father experienced a remarkable 30% increase in crop yields. This success prompted Maryanne to extend her services to neighbouring farms, leading to the rapid expansion of the company.

Maryanne holds a degree in procurement from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and she is currently pursuing a second degree in Law from Mount Kenya University.


With over 16 years of experience, she is driven by a personal mission to empower smallholder farmers with data-driven insights. By providing farmers with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about their crops and soils, Maryanne aims to enhance yields, increase profitability, and minimise the agricultural industry’s environmental impact.


With over 16 years of experience, she is driven by a personal mission to empower smallholder farmers with data-driven insights. By providing farmers with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about their crops and soils, Maryanne aims to enhance yields, increase profitability, and minimise the agricultural industry’s environmental impact.

AgriTech Analytics

AgriTech Analytics stands as a pioneering force in agricultural technology, guided by a vision of tangible impact. Their mission is to eradicate hunger in Africa by harnessing the power of technology and data analytics to empower smallholder farmers. Recognised for their dedication and innovation, AgriTech Analytics has been honoured with the Presidential Innovation Award 2024 by the Kenyan President at Statehouse, as well as the esteemed title of Agritech of the Year Africa 2023 by GIZ.


In Kenya, an estimated 7.8 million smallholder farmers grapple with formidable challenges hindering their ability to produce food sustainably. These challenges include:


  • Crop Pest and Disease Management: Smallholder farmers face annual losses ranging from 45% to 100% due to crop pests and diseases. AgriTech Analytics aims to provide timely detection and prediction solutions, empowering farmers to safeguard their crops effectively.

  • Soil Degradation: A staggering 65% of Kenya’s agricultural land suffers from soil degradation, largely due to farmers’ inability to determine precise farm inputs. AgriTech Analytics’ data-driven approach offers tailored recommendations to mitigate soil degradation and optimise agricultural practices.

  • Climate Change Resilience: With 98% of Kenyan agriculture reliant on unpredictable rainfall patterns, farmers struggle to adapt. AgriTech Analytics’ weather prediction tools and mobile alerts provide farmers with crucial insights, enabling them to make informed decisions and mitigate climate-related risks.

  • Access to Financial Resources: Many farmers lack access to loan facilities or insurance, as they are unable to use their expected crop harvests as collateral. AgriTech Analytics aims to bridge this gap by providing innovative financial solutions tailored to the needs of smallholder farmers.


Famine threatens the lives of at least 21 million people in East Africa, with 23 out of 47 Kenyan counties relying on relief food. Alarmingly, 4.7 million children in East Africa abandoned their studies in 2021, equating to 12,000 children each day, due to famine-induced hardships.

With the invaluable support of the Bayer Foundation plus a combination of financial backing and strategic collaboration, AgriTech Analytics has been able to make significant inroads in their mission to revolutionise agriculture and uplift smallholder farmers across Africa.


Expanded reach and adoption
Since receiving the Bayer Foundation cash prize, AgriTech Analytics has witnessed a remarkable expansion in our reach and adoption. Their media campaigns and partnerships have facilitated the recruitment of new farmers, farmer cooperatives, women farmer groups, and local agro-vet outlets. As a result, they’ve welcomed an additional 7,200 smallholder farmers onto their platform, marking a 55% increase in their user base. Currently, they proudly serve a total of 10,880 farmers monthly across six counties in Kenya.


Improved crop yields and livelihoods
Their innovative technology continues to deliver tangible benefits to farmers, with upgraded IoT sensors and cutting-edge solutions leading to a 57% increase in crop yields within 3-6 months and over 75% annually. This surge in productivity translates to a significant boost in incomes—up to 200%—and enhanced food security for farming families. Moreover, their real-time pest and disease monitoring capabilities have curbed crop losses by 65%, fortifying farmers’ resilience against external challenges. Through targeted and precise farm input application, farmers now enjoy a 63% reduction in input costs, up from 43%.

Environmental sustainability
At AgriTech Analytics, they are staunch advocates for environmental sustainability and responsible agricultural practices. Over the past year, their solutions have contributed to a 65% reduction in water usage, an 80% decrease in fertiliser application, and a 75% reduction in pesticide use among participating farmers. Additionally, their platform has facilitated over 160,000 onsite soil tests, slashing testing costs by 75% and reducing lead times from days to mere minutes. Through SMS reports and alerts, farmers receive timely updates on crop health, soil analysis results, and weather forecasts, fostering sustainable agricultural practices and biodiversity conservation.


Empowerment of women farmers
Gender equality lies at the heart of our mission, and they are dedicated to empowering women farmers through targeted training programmes and capacity-building initiatives. Over the past year, they’ve witnessed a significant uptick in the participation of women farmers on their platform, with a 65.8% increase recorded. Through training initiatives covering precision farming, financial management, and sustainable practices, they’ve equipped over 13,786 women smallholder farmers to take on leadership roles and drive agricultural development in their communities. Notably, their accurate Crop Yields Prediction Tool has enabled women farmers to access loans from financial institutions, with 3,790 women benefiting from loans to purchase farm inputs.


Community engagement and partnerships
AgriTech Analytics remains committed to fostering strong partnerships with local communities, government agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders to amplify their impact. Through collaborative initiatives such as farmer cooperatives and knowledge-sharing workshops, they’ve reached over 25,000 farmers indirectly, bolstering agricultural resilience and promoting sustainable practices at the grassroots level. Their receipt of the Women Empowerment Award from the Bayer Foundation has further strengthened their partnerships, enabling them to forge alliances with six county governments, 87 farmer cooperatives, 93 women farmer groups, and 102 agro-vet outlets.


Partnerships and collaborations
The Women Empowerment Award has been a game-changer for AgriTech Analytics, opening doors to new partnerships and collaborations. They’ve established fruitful alliances with organisations such as Heifer International, AGRA, MassChallenge in Switzerland, MIT in the US, and the Westerwelle Foundation in Germany. Of particular significance is their partnership with the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, leveraging AI and data science to drive transformative change in agriculture. Their upgraded AI and ML models have identified unique pathogens, paving the way for further analysis and intervention.

AgriTech Analytics is proud to report significant progress and impact over the past year, thanks to the generous support of the Bayer Foundation. Their commitment to innovation, sustainability, and social impact remains unwavering as they strive to empower smallholder farmers, promote environmental stewardship, and build resilient agricultural communities. They look forward to continuing their journey of positive change and creating a lasting impact in the agriculture sector.

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