Farmer’s Life

2015 Finalist

F3 Life is a start-up company trialling the Farmer’s Life Service for smallholder farmers in Kenya. The Farmer’s Life Service consists of provision of appropriately designed agricultural loans and high quality technical farming advice.

Project Description

F3 Life provides agricultural loans to smallholder farmers, which specifically incorporate soil and water management requirements into loan terms. Interest is charged on credit, which income funds provision of farming advice and generates profit where income is greater than operational running costs. This approach to natural resource management is thereby backed by a sustainable financial model. F3 Life aims to achieve proof of concept by December 2015.

Project goal and impact

The company aims at improving smallholder farmers wellbeing through increased farm productivity, improving on-farm soil and water conservation as well as watershed management.


Where farmers implement improved soil conservation measures to reduce soil erosion, non-point source pollution by sediment, Nitrogen and Phosphorous are reduced. F3 Life’s credit system allows access to progressively higher levels of agricultural credit at progressively lower rates of interest, conditional upon debt repayment, and a farmer improving his or her on-farm soil and water conservation measures. These loan terms are a powerful incentive for landscape transformation.


The purpose of F3 Life’s technical farming advice is to help farmers build effective soil and water conservation measures, to boost crop yields, and to obtain better prices for their crops sold at market. Additionally, water conservation measures will lead to reduced costs of downstream water treatment, improve farm income and increase the value of well-protected farms.


F3 Life uses the advisory service also to build a strong relationship with clients, which contributes to reducing the loan default risk. Furthermore, the company’s credit system increases the financial inclusion amongst stewards of natural resources.

Participation of the communities

F3 Life worked with local communities to design loan terms and soil and water conservation measures required under these terms. Our clients are members of the local community. They carry out all work in implementation of soil and water conservation measures, from obtaining raw materials for construction to maintaining conservation structures once implemented. The quality of soil and water conservation measures is evaluated by F3 Life and its clients.

Long-term viability

F3 Life is a for-profit business. Income will cover operating costs and growth will be financed by investors investing on the basis of a validated business model and financial projections.

Information about the organization

F3 Life is currently operational in Kenya's southern Aberdares in the Sasamua catchment, which serves Nairobi. Once the company achieves proof of concept it aims to begin operations in other vital East African watersheds. It is planned to reach 10,000 farmer clients by end 2017 and then scale to 1,000,000 clients within 10 years.

Submitted by: 
F3 Life
Award year: 

F3 Life
P.O. Box 40034
00100 Nairobi

Mr Mark Ellis-Jones, Co-founder