The MasterCard Lab for Financial Inclusion, based in Nairobi, has today launched an app that they believe will give farmers access to more buyers, enables them to run a more profitable business and paves the way to a cashless agricultural sector.
2KUZE (Tukuze) which is a Swahili word that means “let’s grow together”, seeks to address the negatives of farming by streamlining the supply chain process through digitization.
MasterCard claims that 50% of farm produce is lost between the farm and the kitchen. This reciprocates to massive losses to the farmers.
In the initial pilot, 2KUZE is being 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 2KUZE to sell their produce to 27 medium to large-scale buyers and 100 small-scale buyers. The farmers are working with farmer-friendly agents to make sure they reach the right buyers for the best price.
According to Mastercard, 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 leave their farms. This 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.
Digitizing these transactions in a trusted, auditable environment provides a legitimate financial footprint, opening up access to loans and other financial services, and introducing a more efficient process that benefits the entire value chain, as well as the overall economy.
Using 2KUZE is fairly simple, agents will register both buyers and farmers on the system, the buyers then post their orders on the platform, orders are sent to the farmers through SMS. Farmers with the produce, accept the order and an agent will come to the farmer to collect the produce, which is then delivered to the buyer and the agent collects payment either through mobile money, bank transfer or cash. The agent pays the farmer through one of the preferred payment method. Earlier while doing the survey to determine the need for the product, the responses were up to 90% in favour of mobile money payments.
In an interview with Daniel Monehin, Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa and head of financial inclusion for International Markets at MasterCard, he revealed that MasterCard Lab for Financial Inclusion started with the agricultural sector, since it is the backbone of the economy in the East Africa region, and success in this sector would mean success in other sectors that MasterCard plans to venture into. He also went ahead and told us that 2KUZE will integrate Masterpass QR among the mobile payment options when it launches in the country soon.