aBi trust-Opportunity bank has signed an agreement that will see 5000 Ugandan coffee farmers get funding via mobile money platforms according to a report by the New Vision.
To kick off, the project will see 3000 farmers receive finds through the partnership between aBi trust-Opportunity bank, Denmark the Ugandan government as well as several agencies. The process will begin in the major coffee growing districts of Mubende, Mityana and Masaka.
The partnership doesn’t end there as aBi Trust’s partnership with Opportunity Bank will exploit the bank’s relationship with MTN and Airtel which enables farmers make deposits and withdrawals through their mobile phones without having to physically come to the bank’s networks.
“Loan officers will now go to the fields instead of asking farmers to come to the bank,” said Peter Ochienghs, acting chief executive of aBi Trust during the signing of the sh830m credit line at the aBi offices in Kampala.
Mobile money has in about six years courted more customers (about 10 million) compared to formal banking which has about 5 million customers. It has revolutionized financial transaction and helped with financial deepening especially in the rural areas which have for decades been underserved by formal banking.
“The project will later be rolled out to 5,000 farmers in six months. It will work among producer organizations that are organized into groups of 20-30 farmers, depot committees and coffee companies to boost production and quality standards of coffee. It will enable lead farmers capture data, after account openings, monitor loans and ultimately boost post-harvest standards and marketing of coffee at district level,” Ochienghs said.
“The potential is phenomenal, once they (farmers) have opened an account, they do normal banking through mobile money, even loan repayment,” noted Andre Lalumiere, chief executive, Opportunity Bank.
aBi Trust has also provided a similar financing facility to Finca, a microfinance firm to enable rural people access solar systems through a grant of sh600m through the Uganda Rural Challenge Fund. The Fund is to be implemented until 2015. Finca will in turn provide a marching fund of Ush714m.