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MasterCard launches 2KUZE digital platform to help smallholder farmers in East Africa

Tuesday 17 January 2017 | 10:17 AM CET

MasterCard has launched 2KUZE, a digital platform, to connect smallholder farmers, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa.

2KUZE enables farmers from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via their feature phones.

2KUZE was developed at the MasterCard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, set up in 2015 to develop financial tools that expand access 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 Cafédirect Producers Foundation, a non-profit organisation 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.

80% of farmers in Africa are classified as smallholder farmers having less than 1-2 acres of farming land.

Farmers using 2KUZE can conduct the entire transaction of selling produce and receiving payments via their feature phones. 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. Digitising these transactions provides a legitimate financial footprint, opening up access to loans and other financial services, and also introducing a more efficient process that benefits the entire value chain, as well as the overall economy.

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