Smallholder Farmers play a vital role in providing nourishment for Sub-Saharan Africa. Access to finance however, still hinders their productivity and prevents them from reaching their full potential. Connected farmer provides them with a gateway to finance, as well as making transactions at Bank Centres safe through our mobile money solution. Although the benefits of our services expand to all the stakeholders involved in the value chain, Agri businesses can be considered the main beneficiaries. Before the introduction of our system, agri enterprises suffered from the lack of direct farmer interaction, making transactions and data management very costly and complex. Introducing cash in the equation also further escalated the risk involved in doing business with Smallholder farmers. Our digital solution provides a platform where these issues are finally addressed and solved.
Connected Farmer is an easy to use mobile phone solution for agribusinesses to interact and transact with smallholder farmers. The farmer registers as a supplier creating a digital point of contact with the agri industry. In existing supply chains farmers deposit their crops in Bank Centres. Goods are consequently sent to processing factories. Farmers either collect cash payments at Bank Centres, or are otherwise paid on a monthly basis depending on the crop or good exchanged. Our mobile application substitutes traditional cash payments with an integrated mobile money solution. It also collects information on crop production, volume, quality, and price to enable credit checks and disbursement of loans in the form of vouchers. If needed, the farmer can use these vouchers to purchase goods from participating outlets. Monthly payment of creditors is done on the mobile phone via Connected Farmer. Agri Businesses benefit from the service in a number of ways. Notifications are sent to the Businesses when Bank Centres reach their maximum stock capacity. Factories can then send trucks to collect goods for shipment. At collection, the type, and quantity of stock are registered. Any changes in the registered data triggers a notification informing the factory managers. This enables them to investigate or enquire about issues experienced during shipment. The solution ultimately connects the parties involved in the value chain, by providing a gateway to finance for farmers, simplifying and securing digital payments, increasing trade transparency, and decreasing fraud.
The service is currently being deployed in Kenya.