The growth of agriculture in Africa can be spearheaded with the use of technology and innovations. Along the entire value chain exist problems that inhibits its growth.
AgroCenta has promised to roll out a new service known as AgroPay in February 2019 in partnership with GSMA, Vodafone & MTN. The new service is aimed at digitizing rural financial inclusion for farmers.
To improve the agricultural value chain in Ghana by solving two critical problems rural-based smallholder farmers faced namely, access to market and access to finance, be it formal or informal. The lack of an access to a structured market results in smallholder farmers being forced to sell to middlemen who buy at ridiculously exploitative prices. The lack of access to finance also means farmers are never able to move from being smallholders to middle level or even commercial farmers.
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AgroTrade and AgroPay platforms by AgroCenta solve these two problems. AgroTrade is a comprehensive supply chain platform that has smallholder farmers on one end and large off-takers on the other end so they can trade directly. This ensures farmers are paid very fair prices for their commodities and also allows them to sell in bulk since the off-takers are typically very large companies ranging from breweries to feed manufacturers.
AgroPay is a financial inclusion platform that will provide any smallholder farmer who has traded on AgroTrade with a financial (‘bank’) statement they can use to get access to finance. Some financial institutions focused on smallholder farmers financing have used AgroPay to better understand which farmers are risk-free to access loans.
The service will be made available next month and it’s a promising initiative from AgroCenta.