Mobile marketplace offers African farmers promise of richer, cashless harvest

2Kuze
MOBILE MARKETPLACE: 2Kuze service will ‘facilitate faster payments’ for farmers

Thousands of small-scale farmers across East Africa will soon be using their feature phones to buy, sell and receive payments for their goods through a mobile app and SMS service developed by Mastercard. The payments giant says 2Kuze offers farmers greater price transparency, more direct access to buyers and financial services, and “paves the way to a cashless agricultural sector”.

The service is currently being piloted with 2,000 farmers in Nandi Hills, Kenya, through Cafédirect Producers Foundation, a non-profit organisation working with 300,000 smallholder farmers globally.

“A buyer will order vegetables or fruit using the 2Kuze app and an SMS will be sent to the farmers,” Mastercard explained to NFC World. “After the message has been sent out, the farmer who has the products will reply to the registered 2Kuze agent.

“Then, the agent will come to the farmer to weigh the product then negotiate the price. As soon as they are done, the agent will deliver the product to the buyer.”

A video gives an overview of the service:

“Eighty per cent of farmers in Africa are classified as smallholder farmers, having less than one to two acres of farming land, making it extremely difficult to drive growth and prosperity within this community,” says Daniel Monehin at Mastercard.

“We believe that by using mobile, a technology that is so ubiquitous among farmers in Africa, we can improve financial access, bring in operational efficiency and facilitate faster payments.”

2Kuze was developed at the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, which was set up in 2015 through an US$11m grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.