Leveraging AMCOS to scale Digital Financial Services – Insights from Tanzania’s cashew value chain

Tanzania’s Cashew Model How can AMCOS be further leveraged as a channel for increased access and utilisation, and what should financial institutions consider to ensure their services are effective? One of our learning approaches to these questions is conducting relevant research that informs interventions that can delve into different value chains, introduce new technologies, and create new partnerships – all with the aim of improving digital inclusion among smallholder farmers.…

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For Women Smallholders in Zambia, Financial Inclusion is Not “One-Size-Fits-All”

NOTE: This post is a continuation of the Blog Series, Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia. See below for links to other parts in this series. The financial resilience and aspirations of women smallholder farmers are not homogenous. They vary considerably depending on women’s incomes and factors such as their social networks, previous financial experiences, income and expense volatility, and degree of control over household finances. Digital financial products and…

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Super Platforms: Connecting Farmers to Markets in Africa

Note: This post was first published on CGAP Blog as part of the series: Platform Economy: What it means for Financial Inclusion. See the original post here. Super platforms are pushing the boundaries of financial inclusion around the world, creating millions of new jobs and stimulating trade, especially in rural markets. These “platforms of platforms” are typically thought of as connecting customers and merchants, but as new Mercy Corps research…

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Who Influences Women Smallholder Farmers in Zambia?

NOTE: This post is a continuation of the Blog Series, Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia. See below for links to other parts in this series. Do Service Touch-Points Increase Demand for Digital Services? Formative research by AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) in Zambia showed that increasing rural access points, tailored to women smallholders’ needs and preferences, was a key trigger for promoting their adoption of digital financial and information services (DFS…

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2017 AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) Learning Outcomes Highlighted at 2nd Annual Learning Event

The Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) program seeks to address the financial inclusion gap for smallholder farmers with greater access to affordable, accessible, and demand-driven financial products and services. As part of AFA’s 2nd Annual Learning Event, taking place in Nairobi, Kenya on 31 January 2018, AFA is releasing a wide range of blogs and documents highlighting its program and learning outcomes from the past year in Kenya, Zambia, and…

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The Art of Behavior Change

“We have always done it this way,” is the answer we received from a young poultry farmer in Athi River, a small town outside Kenya’s capital Nairobi, when we asked her why her chicken coop was a particular height. Further discussion around farming methods revealed she was willing to change her farming practices if she had access to reliable and convenient sources of information. This statement resonates with many of…

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The Potato Trade: From the middle-man’s perspective

Potatoes are the second most important crop in Kenya, after maize. They are grown by approximately 800,000 farmers, 98% of whom are smallholders and are mostly women.  Smallholders grow on less than 1 hectare and produce 83% of the countries production, according to the National Potato Council of Kenya.  Smallholders sell approximately 80% of their potatoes to mostly urban markets, and 70% of potatoes sold are chipped and served as…

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Is the time ripe for Agricultural e-commerce in Kenya? Four signals to watch.

Most entrepreneurs will tell you that apart from luck and financing, the right timing for launching a product is the final spice that makes the meal rewarding. While catching up on my tech reading I stumbled on a book authored by Porter Erisman on the rise of Alibaba, ‘Alibaba’s World’, and in reflection I found many intersections with the key themes discussed and the current context we find ourselves in…

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More capability, less complexity: Farmer Capability channels

Like most small-holder farmers in his area, Jeremiah Njoroge, seen above, actively seeks out useful and relevant information to support his farming enterprise. Radio happens to be top source of this information for him. “I listen to Inooro’s ‘Sauti ya Mkulima’ programme” he says with a satisfactory grin in response to our question. “Sauti ya Mkulima (‘The Voice of the Farmer’ in English) is a radio programme that airs at…

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Driving Digital Inclusion for Smallholders – An Ecosystem Approach

Digital technology can be a powerful tool to reach smallholders with information, market linkages and financial services with extremely low costs at sufficient scale. A recent McKinsey study estimates that mobile and internet technology can drive up to $3 billion in annual agricultural productivity gains by 2025.[i] However, McKinsey points to the specific scale challenge for mobile agriculture services, recommending focus on the full ecosystem around farmers, including warehousing, logistics,…

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