Payments company, MasterCard has launched a digital platform aimed at digitizing East Africa’s agricultural sector.
Called 2KUZE, which means “Let’s grow together” in Swahili, it connects smallholder farmers, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa.
2KUZE enables smallholder farmers conduct the entire transaction of selling produce and receiving payments via their feature phones, without having to walk for hours to the markets.
The platform 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.
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, will benefit more from 2KUZE.
“Eighty percent of farmers in Africa are classified as smallholder farmers having less than 1-2 acres of farming land, making it extremely difficult to drive growth and prosperity within this community, ” said Daniel Monehin, division president for Sub-Saharan Africa and head of financial inclusion for International Markets at Mastercard.
He added, “We believe that 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. The collaboration between the Lab team and farmers in the market helped to deliver a solution that can be implemented and make an impact without any major changes to the day-to-day.”
2KUZE was developed at the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi. In the initial pilot, it was 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 using the platform to sell their produce and working with farmer-friendly agents to ensure they reach the right buyers for the best price.