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Mercy Corps announces innovative Commitment to Action at 2012 CGI Annual Meeting to reach 180,000 low-income farmers within three years

Indonesia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, September 24, 2012

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Mercy Corps launches CGI commitment for Agri-Fin Mobile, an innovative social enterprise using mobile technology with financial and agricultural services.

Portland, OR – The global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps and its partner, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), announced today a Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting to implement Agri-Fin Mobile, an innovative social enterprise to provide low-income farmers in the developing world with “bundled” support integrating financial services, market information and agricultural services to boost their harvests. The Agri-Fin Mobile program aims to increase the income of 180,000 low-income farmers in Indonesia, Uganda and Zimbabwe by 30 percent within the first three years.

A Commitment to Action is a concrete plan to address a global challenge and must meet three criteria for the Clinton Global Initiative; commitments must be new, specific and measurable. Agri-Fin Mobile addresses food insecurity and poverty by facilitating key partnerships between mobile network operators, financial institutions, and agricultural advisory service providers to offer much-needed and currently non-existent agricultural services at affordable rates using mobile platforms.

“In Africa, agricultural output stands at a meager 56 percent of the world’s average. Low productively can be attributed to lack of access to technical and market information, shortage of good seeds and fertilizer, training and advice as well as financial services,” said Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer. “With global demand for food predicted to double by 2050, the need for the services Agri-Fin will provide and the ability to provide them has never been greater.”

There are almost one billion hungry people across the globe. An estimated 450 to 500 million of these people earn their primary living as small-holder farmers, yet productivity among these farmers remains very low. The availability of mobile phones around the world is increasing dramatically, with mobile penetration currently exceeding 97 percent in Indonesia and 56.6 percent across the African continent. Agri-Fin aims to close the critical market gap between farmers and the information and financial services they need to put a dent in the world’s hunger problem.

Potential bundled services will include farm and crop management tools, financing, micro-insurance, and access to markets for small-holder products. Partnerships will be based on clear revenue drivers for each partner to promote long-term, sustainable services to low-income farmers. By building partnerships across sectors, Agri-Fin will help each partner expand the reach of their services to markets they could not have reached on their own due to cost restrictions, technology limitations, or lack of a scalable platform.

Agri-Fin’s initial three-year pilot program will launch first in Indonesia, to be followed by Uganda and Zimbabwe. The program will then be assessed for potential to expand elsewhere in Africa and Asia.

About CGI
The mission of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) is to turn ideas into action. Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, CGI convenes a community of global leaders to forge solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.