Mastercard and Rabobank roll out “financial inclusion” platform for farmers in emerging markets

Mastercard and Rabobank have partnered to give 1 million farmers in emerging markets access to a digital platform to enable transparency of their financial transactions.

The Mastercard Farmer Network (MFN) platform allows farmers to have an overview of their payment history. Having gone live in 2015, the network has so far reached more than 250,000 farmers in Uganda, Tanzania and India. The companies will now extend the scope and impact of the financial inclusion – defined as having equal opportunities to access financial services – initiative to farmers in Kenya, Ghana and Egypt.

Many smallholder farmers in these countries have limited access to market information, finance and management skills, leading to insecurity, inefficiencies and unsustainable business practices. Through the platform, farmers can connect with potential buyers, access mobile payment tools, and build a digital transaction record that can be used to access formal credit from a financial institution.

Arjan Bol, Mastercard’s country manager for the Netherlands, says that connecting farmers together on such a platform enables goods to be sold at a fairer price more easily. This, he tells GTR, is achieved by creating a network, whereby the supply and demand in the market is made visible and transactions are recorded.

Rabobank has a large network in the agricultural business, research and education sectors, which it hopes to leverage in the new partnership to further expand the MFN’s reach. The bank’s overarching aim is to strengthen food chains by taking part – whether through facilitation, financing or otherwise – in initiatives for sustainable food security.

A spokesperson for Mastercard tells GTR that by the end of 2020, as well as having 100 million people using the platform, Mastercard Farmer Network also looks to facilitate a total transaction value of US$100mn.

Rabobank recently partnered on another scheme aimed at providing support to emerging market farmers. Together with ABN Amro and BNP Paribas, the bank signed a US$25mn credit facility to fund a project for coffee farmers in Kenya, Honduras and Mexico.

The credit facility is available through NKG Bloom, an initiative run by Neumann Kaffee Gruppe, a coffee service group with 49 companies in 27 countries. ABN Amro structured the facility and acted as lead arranger and co-ordinator.

The NKG Bloom platform allows farmers to access finance, an education and technology to harness their production potential, work more sustainably and to make their coffee traceable. One example of this is the digitalisation of the payment process for farmers involved in the project, enabling them to track their payments online.

By: GEOFFREY YORK
Image credit: Simon Allen from Pixabay

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