Global payments company Mastercard has launched a digital platform that will connect smallholder farmers to agents, buyers and banks in East Africa, enabling them to sell their produce and receive payments without having to go to the market themselves.

2KUZE, which in Swahili means "Let’s grow", will enable farmers to sell their agricultural goods and receive payments via their phones in a cashless transaction ecosystem that will deposit the returns in their mobile money accounts.

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 $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 know-how.

Currently 2KUZE is being piloted with 2,000 small-scale farmers in Kenya's Nandi Hills. The farmers will use the solution to collect payments for their produce, and they and working with agents to ensure they reach the right buyers for the best price.

Farmers using 2KUZE can sell their produce and receive payments via their phones without having to leave their farms. This enables them to capture a greater percentage of the wholesale value of their goods by providing price transparency, more direct access to buyers, and a greater return from their produce.

Source: Mastercard Foundation

Digitizing these transactions in a trusted, auditable environment 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.

“Eighty percent of farmers in Africa are smallholders, 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.”

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.

2KUZE is one of several broad-based collaborations on which the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion is working. The Lab was established in Africa to contribute to the company’s global commitment to connect 500 million people to formal financial services through the use of public-private partnerships with governments, the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

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