NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
MERCY Corps’ AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) programme, in conjunction with Musika and the Zambia Cotton Ginners Association (ZCGA), is supporting cotton ginners in Eastern Province to digitalise payments to about 13,000 smallholder farmers.
The AFA programme aims at scaling up the use of digital financial services to one million smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
In an interview recently, AFA Zambia country director Christabel Makokha said farmers are currently being trained on how to register for mobile services in preparation for this season’s payments.
“We are working with ZCGA and Musika to digitalise payments to smallholder farmers in Nyimba and Petauke districts,” she said.
Ms Makokha said cotton represents one of the largest value chains in the country, with over 300,000 smallholder cotton farmers who mostly get paid by cash, which is not safe.
She said digitalisation of these payments is not only more convenient for the farmers and cotton distributors, but also reduces the risk of loss and theft.
AFA’s primary target group is unbanked smallholder farmers living on less than US$2.50 per day in Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania.
The six-year US$25 million programme, supported by the MasterCard Foundation, was launched in Zambia in January this year.