Global payments technology company Mastercard and Ecobank Group, a leading independent pan-African banking group, are to partner to digitize agricultural value chains in Africa.
The partners will deploy Mastercard Farm Pass, which helps connect smallholder farmers to financial and agricultural ecosystems. Its roll-out will leverage the 33 countries where Ecobank has banking operations, helping millions of smallholder farmers gain digital access to markets, quality inputs, financial services, and real-time pricing information.
Mastercard’s Farm Pass is described as a digital platform that makes it safer and easier for farmers to sell their produce at a fair price. It brings together various agri-sector stakeholders from the supply and demand sides in one agricultural marketplace, amplifying the collective positive impact on farming communities.
Smallholder farmers can sell their produce at a better price, access quality inputs and farming information, get paid and pay digitally. Farm Pass also allows them to develop a financial profile that can unlock financing opportunities for working capital and input.
In other words, by integrating their businesses with payment systems, Farm Pass enables smallholder farmers to build a digital transaction record that can facilitate formal credit or other financial services from banks and other financial institutions. This is an important boost when only an estimated 3% of the sector receives banking credit, limiting the farmers’ capacity to grow their business or mitigate poor harvest losses.
Since its launch in 2015, Mastercard says Farm Pass has reached nearly one million smallholder farmers in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and India, enabling them to command 25%-50% higher prices and increase harvest productivity.
Mastercard says Farm Pass is part of its strategy to connect underserved communities to essential services through Community Pass, a shared interoperable digital platform that supports the company’s commitment to connect one billion people and 50 million small and micro businesses to the digital economy by 2025.