|“The least that governments can do is to support digitizing the operations of small-scale farmers because it is going to transform agriculture.” Hon. Brigadier Marco Elias Gaguti, the Regional Commissioner – Kagera region, Tanzania|
Tanzanian smallholder bean farmers have not benefited from the potential market gains along the bean value chain due to disaggregation and poor linkages to markets – compounded by lack of financial inclusion. Technological innovations such as digitization of smallholder farmers’ operations present the most plausible trajectory towards unsettling the status quo.
The partnership between Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) in Maruku, Karagwe Development & Relief Services (KADERES) and partners is a classic example – premised on endeavoring to understand the farmers’ pressing needs and bridging the gap by providing lasting solutions.
KADERES is a cooperative organization located in the north-west of Tanzania (Kagera region). The grain trader works in four districts (Missenyi, Muleba, Kyerwa, Karagwe) providing a ready market to 250,000 bean and coffee farmers. The company focuses on three-bean market classes namely yellows, red mottled and red kidneys.
The symbiotic relationship between research and the whole value chain up to the markets has the picture clear for KADERES farmers whose focus is to produce to sell. TARI Maruku supports the company by providing training on good agronomic practices (GAP) and availing seeds to KADERES’ farmers who are both producing bean seeds and grain.
For a big aggregator like KADERES, working with a huge number of farmers; moving volumes that are traded both locally and regionally has necessitated seeking digital solutions in MasterCard Farmer Network to ease the process of registration and tracking of bean volumes as well as pay the farmers digitally. The platform has made it easier for tracking sales. The farmer network provides a service for farmers and aggregators to register in a digital grain collection and payment system. Farmers receive real-time information through their mobile phone based on the submitted grain and eventually get paid through the mobile money system
“For the last 6 months, we have sold 108.1 tons of Njano Uyole and 34.7 tons of Lyamungu 90. We have paid out a total amount of US $ 100,000 to the farmer cooperative. This system does not only ensure easy and quick submission of grain but it also ensures quick access and safety of my clients’ money especially women who are the bulk of bean producers. TARI Maruku continues to support us through researching on and developing bean varieties that most of our buyers are looking for such as Red kidney type.’ said Leonard Kachebonaho – the Executive Secretary, KADERES
The farmer network platform hosted a platform that digitizes market places, payments, workflows and farmers’ transaction histories within the agricultural sector. This includes farmer profiling, geo-referencing, communication management, placement of orders and collection management, financial services, Agri–input management and value-added services. The MasterCard network envisages working with the flow from farmers – aggregators – buyers (Farmers – AMCOS – KADERES). All aggregation and transaction history of the farmers will be saved in the cloud with limited access and editing.