Mastercard and National Microfinance Bank (NMB) have launched eKilimo, a mobile solution developed by the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion to ensure the digitization of the agricultural sector in Tanzania.
eKilimo, Swahili for ‘eAgriculture’, is a digital platform aimed to help, introduce efficiency, security and transparency in the agriculture supply chain by making transacting faster, safer, and easier for all stakeholders including the farmer, the buyer and the agent.
Powered by the digital platform developed by the Mastercard Lab, eKilimo will allow farmers to conduct the entire transaction process of receiving payments and selling produce via a feature or smartphone, without having to walk hours to markets.
This helps to ensure farmers benefit from the ability to capture a higher percentage of the wholesale value of their goods by providing price transparency and more direct access to buyers.
By providing digital payment to farmers, eKilimo will leverage the existing agency banking structure to facilitate account opening for farmers and joint ideation on new product features. This is in line with the Mastercard vision of a more digitally and financially included Africa.
“Using digital technology to provide access to farmers and introducing transparency to the buying and selling process will drive efficiencies into this supply chain, positively impacting the economy. In the long run this should help famers gain access to formal financial services and solutions, enabling them to manage their funds ensuring a better more secure future for them and their families,” said Raghu Malhotra, President, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.
The East African Lab, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is set to empower 100 million people through its focused approach of developing market and sector relevant solutions underpinned by meaningful insights and local collaboration.
The partnership between NMB and Mastercard will see the solution enter a pilot phase in select locations in Tanzania from March 2017.
The pilot will begin with the onboarding of NMB customers that source directly from smallholders. Field agents of the customers will use the eKilimo smartphone app to perform the purchase, including weighing the produce on a Bluetooth-enabled scale and paying the farmer digitally. The farmer will receive information and their payment from eKilimo, and will be able to leverage their transaction history to access credit from NMB.