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How Digital Finance is Transforming Agriculture

By Wayan Vota on April 6, 2016


An estimated 1.5 billion people live in rural households engaged in smallholder agriculture. These smallholder farmers face tremendous challenges in improving their livelihoods, including limited or no access
 to value-creating services and resources and branchless banking.

Digital mobile finance technologies using mobile money platforms have demonstrated the potential to unlock some of that lost value. Understanding this opportunity is a focus of the upcoming ICTforAg Conference on new technology for smallholder value chains. Please register now to attend.

A primer for that event, and a strong resource in it’s own right, is the new report from Lee Babcock and CTA: Mobile payments: How digital finance is transforming agriculture.

This report offers new and interesting insights on the role that digital finance can play in providing a more cost-effective and secure method for financial transactions in the agricultural sector, particularly for rural smallholder farms.

In doing so, it offers a three-step approach for replacing cash payments being made by large buyers (e.g. lead firms, cooperatives) to smallholder farmers, with mobile payments:

  • Cash usage behavioural research (CUBeR)
  • Strategic alliance formation (StAF)
  • Embedding mobile finance (EMoFi) into the value chain knowledge exchange and other interventions.

Complementing these recommendations, the initiatives profiled in this report offer compelling cases of how three different organisations approached the agri-digital finance opportunity and the solutions they crafted to successfully reach smallholder farmers:

  • smartMoney in Uganda
  • nwK agri-services in Zambia
  • rice mobile finance (riMFin) in Ghana

Increasing access to agri-digital finance not only creates new market opportunities for business, but also provides a vital service to smallholder farmers. This report highlights how digital finance can bring more financial service options to the smallholder farmers, thus providing rural farmers with increased access to finance and enhanced opportunities for value creation.

Together, the insights and recommendations presented in Mobile payments: How digital finance is transforming agriculture opens up new conversations about the way digital technologies and innovations can create new business strategies that can meaningfully improve the livelihoods of rural smallholder farmers and their families.

Filed Under: Agriculture, Featured
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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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One Comment to “How Digital Finance is Transforming Agriculture”

  1. Ayoade says:

    Great post Waya!

    It’s impressive how ICT is helping improve agriculture. I can see that Digital Finance is proving to be a great use to agriculture.

    What other areas of ICT intervention is also making huge impact on agriculture?