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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

UN study says digitizing Kenyan farmers' payment helps tackle poverty

The United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance has concluded a study which showed how agriculture nonprofit organization One Acre Fund in partnership with Citi Inclusive Finance, successfully digitized loan repayments for farmers in Kenya, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This move significantly boosted transparency and efficiency, driving economic opportunity and financial inclusion for thousands of smallholder farmers and their families.

Head, Communication at Better Than Cash Alliance, Angela Corbalan, said the study by One Acre Fund was supported by Citi, and enabled farmers to easily make loan repayments via mobile money instead of cash, reducing the uncertainty, inefficiency, insecurity and high costs previously caused by cash transactions.

NaijaAgroNet reports that with this digitization, One Acre Fund could now reach more farmers with greater reliability, and staff can spend almost half as much time collecting payments in cash, using that extra time to help farmers increase their incomes through training and educational programs.
“With One Acre Fund’s package of services, including training and inputs like seed and fertilizer, the average farmer participating in the program earned nearly 50 per cent more than peer farmers who do not participate,” she said.

In addition, she listed some of the findings to include that there has been increased participant satisfaction due to transparency and convenience; 85 per cent decrease in instances of repayment fraud as well as reduction in processing time for each repayment from 12-16 days to 2-4 days.

“… Farmers now know immediately when their payment is received, eliminating the worry about whether it arrived,” she said.

Further, NaijaAgroNet reports that study found out that Eighty per cent decrease in repayment processing costs, while 46 per cent of time reduced for staff working on collections, allowing for more time helping farmers to improve agricultural practices.

Just as women farmers benefited especially, because they now feel safer about payment deliveries.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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