Financial Services company MasterCard has today through its Master Lab for Financial Inclusion launched 2Kuze, a digital platform that connects smallholder farmers, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa.
2Kuze enables farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via feature phones, that are widely available across the region. MasterCard says that the platform brings the benefits and security of mobile commerce and payments to farmers in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
The pilot study of 2Kuze is being launched in partnership with Cafédirect Producers Foundation, a non-profit organization working with over 300,000 smallholder farmers globally. So far, 2,000 Kenyan farmers in Nandi Hills are using the solution to sell their produce with farmer friendly agents to ensure they reach the right buyers for the best price.
2KUZE makes transacting much safer and simpler for all stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain – the farmer, the buyer and the agent. Farmers using 2KUZE can 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.
“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.”
Mastercard Lab is exploring the potential for 2KUZE to help farming communities receive the right level of investment and to encourage more efficient ways of doing business with smallholder farmers.
2KUZE is one of several broad-based collaborations on which the MasterCard Lab for Financial Inclusion is working. The Lab was established in Africa to contribute to the company’s global commitment to connect 500 million people to formal financial services through the use of public-private partnerships with governments, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.