2KUZE, a new mobile marketplace connecting smallholder farmers, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa has been launched by Mastercard in a move set to digitize agriculture in East Africa.
2KUZE, which in Swahili means “Let’s grow together,” is expected to enable farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via their feature phones from any location in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
According to Daniel Monehin, Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa and head of financial inclusion for International Markets at Mastercard,’ By using mobile, a technology that is so ubiquitous among farmers in Africa, we can improve financial access, bring in operational efficiency and facilitate faster payments.”
Developed at the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, 2KUZE is being launched in partnership with Cafédirect Producers Foundation, a non-profit organization working with 300,000 smallholder farmers globally. Currently, 2,000 small-scale farmers in Nandi Hills, Kenya are currently using the solution to sell their produce and working with farmer-friendly agents to ensure they reach the right buyers for the best price.
2KUZE makes transacting much safer and simpler for all stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain – the farmer, the buyer and the agent. Farmers using 2KUZE can conduct the entire transaction of selling produce and receiving payments via their feature phones, without having to walk for hours to the markets. This enables farmers to capture a greater percentage of the wholesale value of their goods by providing price transparency, more direct access to buyers and empowerment of farmer-friendly agents.
Mastercard says 2KUZE supports women farmers, who often have household duties that prevent them from leaving the farm gate and are more often subject to having to take whatever deal is given to them on the day. Digitizing these transactions in a trusted, auditable environment provides a legitimate financial footprint, opening up access to loans and other financial services, and also introducing a more efficient process that benefits the entire value chain, as well as the overall economy.
Mastercard Lab is exploring the potential for 2KUZE to help farming communities receive the right level of investment and to encourage more efficient ways of doing business with smallholder farmers. 2KUZE is one of several broad-based collaborations on which the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion is working.