Farmers know all about transformation. There are few better examples than planting a seed in the right soil, adding the right combination of water and nutrients – and then seeing and supporting the transformation. But being a farmer is also to understand challenge.
If farmers can sell more crops, and earn more money, they can make a better life. In principle, it sounds straight-forward, but out on the fields, far from a physical marketplace or reliable internet, it’s not the simplest process to know the latest fair price and market value for crops. Delayed payment is another challenge, which affects cashflow and, access to credit and loans to buy good quality seeds, fertilizer, and equipment.
This was one of the hot topics of conversation at the 28th National Agriculture Show in Uganda, where a multitude of farmers gathered – men and women who harvest anything from coffee beans to sweet potatoes and plantains. On invitation from the Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE), Mastercard supported this special gathering and shared a bit more about how one simple innovation is making farmers’ lives easier – and creating more wealth in the process.
A new digital platform for farmers
Out on the farms of Uganda, a digital platform called YoPay Agric – powered by Mastercard – is helping farmers to solve many of their pressing challenges. The platform links farmers to different partners in the agricultural sector. This includes suppliers that sell quality seed and fertilizers, financial institutions such as banks or SACCOs, and buyers from far and near.
Farmers themselves don’t even need a smartphone or internet to join the YoPay Agric platform. Agents working at local farming cooperatives can quickly register individual farmers with just a few details about them and their crops. Participation is confirmed by an SMS to any ordinary mobile phone. What follows is the beauty of technology as it transforms the value chain – automating harvest collection and payment.
Quick access, multiple buyers, fair prices, and faster payment
This technology turns challenge into opportunity for farmers. Digital crop records mean farmers and farming cooperatives don’t have to worry about paper reports and the risk associated with losing them. Farming cooperatives receive expected harvest yield information quickly and accurately, so they can swiftly negotiate fair prices with buyers looking to place orders.
Farmers also have a choice in how to receive payment, with the option to take advantage of secure digital payments to a mobile money or bank account, or cash if this is preferred. Since each harvest and payment are supported by a digital transaction record, farmers automatically build a credible financial history, which is especially useful when the day comes to apply for a loan.
Progress of technology on new turf
More than 350,000 farmers in over 170 farming associations and cooperatives are already using YoPay Agric. And this is growing. Farmers who have enrolled have been able to get up to 50% more for their crops and have also reduced the amount of wastage they have.
Daniel Huba, Vice President, Community Pass Market Development at Mastercard, says this momentum is what excites his team the most: “By year-end, we estimate 1 million farmers in Uganda will benefit from YoPay Agric. This innovative solution goes right to the root of where it can do the best: the farmers who want to grow production, incomes, and profitability. At Mastercard, we believe that digital inclusion is necessary to put more people on a path to financial prosperity, and by connecting Uganda’s farmers with this simple digital solution, an exciting new growth journey for each farmer is set in motion. Technology is transforming livelihoods for the better.”
Gerald Begumisa, Managing Director at Yo-Uganda Limited expressed his enthusiasm on the great prospect ahead for the agriculture ecosystem in Uganda. “At Yo, we are proud that through our partnership with Mastercard we have become the top 3 Agtech in Uganda and are on a path to be the largest Agtech by end of year. We are committed to connecting farmers to better markets and are also in advance planning to launch Ag focused financial services in partnership with multiple financial institution based on data insights emerging from YoPay Agric. “
Connecting smallholder farmers to a digital platform that makes it easier for them to move from subsistence to commercial farming is the core of sustainable agricultural growth. Bringing farmers into the digital economy creates new jobs, increases competitiveness, and improves food security for communities across Uganda.
YoPay Agric is fuelled by the technology of Farm Pass, the agricultural solution of Mastercard’s Community Pass. This shared interoperable digital platform connects people in the most remote communities to various service providers, making it easier and simpler to benefit from the growing digital economy.
Ask your local farmer group or cooperative about YoPay Agric powered by Mastercard.
Keep a look out for YoPay Agric teams and product information as they travel through Northern Uganda from September 19-23, the West Nile Region from September 26-30, and Central Uganda from October 3-7!
Yo! Uganda Limited
2nd Floor, Block A Nakawa Business Park Plot 3, 5 New Port Bell Rd, Kampala
Tel: 0788 23 86 65
Email [email protected]