In a move to expand the reach of its Mastercard Farmers Network (MFN), Mastercard has partnered with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), to expand the MFN marketplace to more farmers, buyers and the agents in Uganda.
MFN connects small-scale farmers with potential buyers, integrates their businesses with payment systems, and enables them to build a digital transaction record that can be used to access formal credit from banks and other financial institutions.
The platform aims to ease access to markets by small holder farmers and give them financial tools to grow their businesses and improve their livelihoods.
MFN was developed by the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion, one of nine Labs, which serves Mastercard’s Strategic Growth efforts by developing ground-breaking solutions that will impact millions of people through helping them manage risk better, financially plan for the future and lead empowered lives.
The announcement was made at the MFN Partner Summit and its expected to positively impact smallholder farmers and empower the agriculture value chain in Uganda and across the continent through technology.
The MFN platform has already gone live in Uganda, Tanzania and India, with more than 250,000 farmers on the platform currently.
In a statement, Raghav Prasad, Division President Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard, said; “Our partnership with CIAT and with USADF will significantly increase our reach to smallholder farmers and the rest of the agricultural ecosystem, allowing more people enjoy the benefits of a digital economy and empowering them to grow their businesses.”
Mastercard is using the Uganda roll out as it’s test market to more farmers in Africa and globally.
CIAT is working with Mastercard to scale up the MFN platform to support farmers in the bean value chain. CIAT aims to grow their impact from over 200,000 farmers in East Africa, to over one million farmers in their different African countries of operations by 2020.
Dr Debisi Araba, Regional Director for Africa, CIAT said,“We are delighted today to see the realization of the digital platform dream that connects smallholder farmers, aggregators, processors and banks in East Africa. Smallholder farmers can now enjoy increased profits courtesy of the reduced transaction costs (financial and time wise) and have peace of mind from the secured platform. We are hopeful that women, through the e-payment services, will now have more access and control of their financial resources ultimately transforming the health, nutrition and economic prosperity of their homes and by extension their communities”.
USADF has started using MFN in Uganda to help reach underserved communities across all value-chains in the agricultural sector, with a target of adding 20,000 farmers by the end of 2019 and an ambition of growing this to 1 million farmers by end of 2020. This will be achieved by increasing farmer linkages to markets and formal financial services and growing the usage of MFN to millions of smallholder farmers across Africa.
In partnership with Mastercard, USADF is also providing participating farmers with a host of other value-added services, including logistics and transportation, best agronomic practices, as well as access to warehousing facilities. This will be delivered through their implementing partner, the Uganda Development Trust (UDET).
The use of Mastercard’s technology will help smallholder farmers establish a financial footprint important to improve inclusivity, is also a way of marketing and reaching more users for Mastercard’s products.