MasterCard has introduced a new digital platform that connects peasants, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa and enables them to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods using their feature phones.
The new marketplace, known as 2KUZE, was developed at the MasterCard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, and is currently available for peasants in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
For the trial run, 2KUZE is being introduced in collaboration with Cafedirect Producers Foundation, a non-profit organization working with 300,000 smallholder farmers across the word.
At present, almost 2,000 small-scale farmers in Nandi Hills, Kenya are using the solution to sell their produce and working with farmer-friendly agents to ensure they reach the right buyers for the best price.
MasterCard division president for Sub-Saharan Africa and head of financial inclusion for international markets Daniel Monehin said: “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.
“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.”
Once the goods are delivered to the buyer, MasterCard’s digital platform will ensure that farmers are paid electronically. It will also opens up more work opportunities for women in the region, who often have household duties that prevent them from leaving the farm gate.