Digital technology aiming to empower small-farm owners in east Africa

Mastercard has launched a new digital marketplace for east Africa farmers to sell their crops and receive payment via their mobile telephones named 2Kuze. The new technology works with existing mobile money systems like M-Pesa to facilitate transactions between farmers, agents and banks.

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The World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) estimates there are roughly 500 million farming households across the world that fall under the category of “smallholder” made up of no more than a few hectares of land, and run primarily by family members.

According to how we made it in Africa,The new innovation capitalises on the widespread use of mobile phones across Africa to conduct peer-to-peer monetary transactions, Mastercard says, and the programme is intended to increase farmers’ earnings by giving them access to a wider network of buyers and faster transactions.

“With technology comes great scale, and so if we can help [buyers] work with 10 times the number of farmers they’ve historically been able to work with… they have the opportunity to make more money, even if the margins on any given transaction is lower.”

Farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda participated in the development of 2Kuze, and the pilot programme is launching with 2,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya’s Nandi Hills region, famous for its tea farms.

 

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