In its effort to make business transaction easier for smallholder farmers, Mastercard has launched 2Kuze, a digital platform that connects smallholder farmers, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa. 2Kuze, which in Swahili means “Let’s grow together,”
This platform is to enables farmers buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via their feature phones.
The platform brings the benefits and security of mobile commerce and payments to farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Mastercard said 2Kuze was developed at the MasterCard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, which was set up in 2015 to develop practical and cost-effective financial tools that expand access and help build stable futures for more than 100 million people globally.
Through an USD 11 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lab is working with East African entrepreneurs, governments and other stakeholders to develop local products rooted in the company’s global knowhow.
In the initial pilot, 2Kuze is being launched in partnership with Cafedirect Producers Foundation, a non-profit organization working with 300,000 smallholder farmers globally.
Currently, 2,000 small-scale farmers in Nandi Hills, Kenya are currently using the solution to sell their produce and working with farmer-friendly agents to ensure they reach the right buyers for the best price. 2Kuze makes transacting much safer and simpler for all stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain – the farmer, the buyer and the agent.
Farmers using 2KUZE can conduct the entire transaction of selling produce and receiving payments via their feature phones, without having to walk for hours to the markets.
This enables farmers to capture a greater percentage of the wholesale value of their goods by providing price transparency, more direct access to buyers and empowerment of farmer-friendly agents.
This solution in particular supports women farmers, who often have household duties that prevent them from leaving the farm gate and are more often subject to having to take whatever deal is given to them on the day.
Mastercard Lab is exploring the potential for 2Kuze to help farming communities receive the right level of investment and to encourage more efficient ways of doing business with smallholder farmers.