Mercy Corps and Mobipay launch mobile services for Ugandan farmers
Global humanitarian organisation Mercy Corps and mobile financial service technology provider Mobipay launched a partnership to extend the Agrilife service to farmers in Uganda. The platform uses mobile technology to provide insights into farmers’ production capabilities and projects their future production levels, ultimately making it much easier for them to access credit.
Agrilife allows farmers to capture information on their input purchases (seeds and fertiliser, for example), as well as their produce quantities and sales. Over a number of seasons this gives insight into their “production potential,” which can be used to access finance needed to cover the essentials that arise before harvest season, whether they are labour, seeds, fertiliser, pesticides, education or health services. Mercy Corps and Mobipay hope to reach 10,000 farmers with the service in the first six months and 50,000 farmers within the three years.
The introduction of Agrilife to Uganda is part of Mercy Corps’ Agri-Fin Mobile programme. They work with partners to bundle farm and crop management information and tools with financial services, and deliver them via mobile channels to drive mass uptake — making the services commercially sustainable in the long term. The overall goal is to enable smallholder farmers to increase and stabilise their incomes, and manage their production cycles in a more effective way.
Felix Musau, Mobipay Chief Executive said: “With some 75 percent of the working population of Africa involved in agriculture, improving the lives of farmers and facilitating growth in trade through enabling technologies is a mission we are very proud of and we are extremely excited to be working with Mercy Corps to lead the way in Uganda toward that objective.”
Stephen Musoke, the Agri-Fin Mobile Program Coordinator in Uganda said: “We are thrilled to help bring Agrilife to Uganda. Essentially the service brings out into the light farmers’ capacity to produce, based on current and up-to-date information. It makes them better able to access affordable credit to expand their businesses, boost their income and provide for their families wherever they are. It gives them freedom to make the best choices for their own interests.”
As more information becomes available, additional services — such as tailored farming advice and direct market linkages, mobile interactions and transactions between farmers, produce buyers, agricultural input suppliers and other service providers — will give farmers easy access to the information they need to improve their production and income.
The launch of Agrilife in Uganda is part of a Mercy Corps three-year Agri-Fin Mobile programme. The programme is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC), which aims to develop replicable models for bundled agricultural advisory and financial services delivered via mobile to 180,000 small-scale farmers starting with Zimbabwe, Uganda and Indonesia.