Mastercard backs digital platform to improve farmers’ earningsCIAT is working with Mastercard to scale up the MFN platform to support farmers in the value chain and cut out the middlemen.
July 10—A partnership has been announced that will see several hundred thousand small holder farmers across Uganda gain access to an online platform set up for allowing easier marketing of their produce and other agricultural products. It will also provide regular and reliable market information on the Mastercard Farmers Network (MFN).
Mastercard, the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) have come together to simplify marketing, buying and selling of agricultural goods.
MFN allows small farmers to sell and accept payment for their produce via a mobile phone. By connecting them directly to buyers, these farmers can get the best prices for their produce without going through a middle man.
Dr Debisi Araba, Regional Director for Africa at CIAT said the biggest challenge facing farmers in different African countries include lack of immediate stable markets for their agricultural products, unfair prices for the products and lack of a reliable supply of good seeds.
“We are delighted today to see the realization of the digital platform dream that connects smallholder farmers, aggregators, processors and the banks in East Africa. Smallholder farmers can now enjoy increased profits due to reduced transaction costs,” he said.
While announcing the partnership on Wednesday in Kampala that was sealed, the officials from the three organizations reaffirmed their commitment to help small scale farmers in Uganda and across Africa to migrate into formal businesses that earns more stable incomes.
Salah Goss, Head of MasterCard Labs for Financial Inclusion said the partnership will help in connecting more farmers in rural areas to the Mastercard Farmers Network and benefit from the digital economy.
She said, “Our partnership with USADF and CIAT will significantly increase our reach to smallholder farmers and the rest of the agricultural ecosystem, allowing more people to enjoy the benefits of a digital economy and empowering them to grow their businesses.”
CIAT is working with Mastercard to scale up the MFN platform to support farmers in the value chain. By way of the partnership, CIAT hopes to reach over 200,000 farmers and over a million farmers in different African countries by 2020.
USADF President and CEO, C.D. Glin said the adaptation of the MFN in Uganda will help in reaching over 20,000 farmers in hard to reach areas across all value chains in the agricultural sector by 2019 and increase farmer linkage to markers and formal financial services
“Digitalizing farmer and market information will jump start efficiency in ways that will transform farmer livelihoods by establishing critical connecting points based on innovations in the agricultural value chain,” Glin said