Mastercard kaunched 2KUZE this week, a digital platform that connects smallholder farmers, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa
In Nairobi, Kenya, on 17 January, Mastercard launched 2KUZE, which is Swahili for "let's grow together." The marketplace will enable farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via feature phones. The platform will bring together the benefits and security of mobile commerce and payments to famers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
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 100mn people globally. Through a 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.
2KUZE is being launched in partnership with Cafédirect Producers Foundation, a non-profit organization working with 300,000 smallholder farmers globally. Currently, 2,000 small-scale farmers in Nandi Hills, Kenya are using the solution to sell their produce and working with farmer-friendly agents to ensure they reach the right buyers for the best price.
“Eighty percent of farmers in Africa are classified as smallholder farmers having less than 1-2 acres of farming land, making it extremely difficult to drive growth and prosperity within this community, ” said Daniel Monehin, division president for Sub-Saharan Africa and head of financial inclusion for International Markets 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. The collaboration between the Lab team and farmers in the market helped to deliver a solution that can be implemented and make an impact without any major changes to the day-to-day.”