•This was one among three collaborations that are anticipated to drive significant changes in digital and financial inclusion for smallholder farmers.
•Mastercard, Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa Daniel Huba, says improving farmers’ access to finance is crucial for increasing agricultural productivity.
Mastercard and Co-operative bank of Kenya have announced a deal that will see small holder farmers receive loans with interest rates below the market price.
Small-scale farmers account for over 70 per cent of agricultural production in Kenya.
Despite this, they face challenges accessing credit from financial institutions.
This was one among three collaborations that are anticipated to drive significant changes in digital and financial inclusion for smallholder farmers and rural communities across east Africa.
The announcement was made during the Community Pass Customer Summit in Kampala, Uganda that gathered more than 90 public and private sector partners, dedicated to crafting sustainable solutions for digital and financial inclusion across Africa and beyond.
According to Mastercard Community Pass Founder, Tara Nathan, the collaboration jointly with Shell Foundation and Co-operative Bank of Kenya, will provide below-market interest rates to smallholder farmers against lending for green technology.
“ We are excited about coming together to showcase our shared dedication to enhancing digital and financial access, with a focus on addressing the specific needs of our users,” said Nathan.
For traditional lenders, extending credit to smallholders has not been easy. They must contend with variables ranging from rising central bank interest rates to weather-related risks and the high cost of administering small-scale loans.
Through the solution, Mastercard enables rural and marginalised communities, many of whom lack digitised data records, identification documentation, and or connectivity, to digitally access a network of offline services.
The platform provides a commercially sustainable approach to scaling service delivery and increasing access to critical services including agriculture, healthcare, and micro-commerce.
Community Pass is growing and has already reached nearly five million users globally in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and India.
Mastercard, vice president for Sub-Saharan Africa Daniel Huba, said improving farmers’ access to finance is crucial for increasing agricultural productivity, reducing poverty, and promoting sustainable development in Kenya.
By linking smallholder farmers to banks and other financial institutions, these initiatives can help farmers access credit, purchase agricultural inputs, and improve their yields.
The recent announcement follows an earlier partnership between the two entities for an online platform, that enables local farmers to access farm inputs right on time at the onset of plating season.
They then get their produce to the market upon harvesting.
Since its inception, the Co-op Bank Soko platform has garnered substantial participation with the partnership between the two making a significant impact in the development of the agricultural industry in Kenya.