Half of the billion people affected by undernourishment worldwide earn their primary living from smallholder agriculture. The productivity of these farmers remains very low. A major issue in this context is the lack of access to technical and market information, and to financial services. Providing access to rural advisory and financial services through mobile phones – a highly promising medium to reach millions in remote areas – has a high potential to improve smallholders’ productivity, stabilise their incomes, thus contributing to increased food security.
Access to mobile phone networks is growing dramatically in rural areas of developing countries, providing a powerful channel of communication and the ability to link excluded rural communities to up-to-date information. The aim of the present project is to “bundle” key services of agricultural advice from private sector, research and extension institutions with financial services providers and telecommunications companies.
The unique Agri-Fin Mobile program approach works with partners to build sustainable models, where farm and crop management tools and financial services are "bundled" in affordable, unified platforms n mobile phone channels to promote mass uptake commercially. The program targets partners with existing financial, MNO and agricultural technical service mobile platforms or applications, or demonstrated interest in developing and investing in them, and facilitates development of a business model whereby the bundling process provides an increased value proposition for each partner, such as, increased fee income, greater outreach or reduced risks.
The overall goal is that smallholders increase and stabilize their incomes and manage their production cycle in a more effective way. This shall contribute to improved livelihoods and an increased food security at household and system levels.
Primary outcomes of the program are:
• Demand-driven bundled financial and rural advisory services via mobile phones are elaborated and made available;
• Sustainable and scalable business models are established and work;
• Smallholders have sustainable access and make accurate use of financial and rural advisory services;
• Knowledge of models, services and products are captured and shared for dissemination and replication.
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A key element of the program is the ability to create business models and necessary technical interfaces between partners to build “bundles” of services for farmers on unified platforms, therefore