Business

Zambian smallholder farmers among beneficiaries of digital financial services

CYNTHIA MWALE, NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
ZAMBIAN smallholder farmers will be among some one million beneficiaries in two other countries that will be empowered with access to digital financial and informational services.
This follows the unveiling of an AgriFin Accelerated Programme, by Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian aid agency.
The AgriFin is an initiative aimed at scaling up the use of agriculture and financial information to smallholder farmers in Zambia which has been allocated US$5 million, while Kenya and Tanzania will receive US$12.5 million and US$7.5 million respectively.
The six-year programme is part of a US$25 million progranmme supported by the MasterCard Foundation which targets mostly women and youth.
According to a media advisory availed to Daily Mail on Monday: “The AgriFin Accelerated Programme is an initiative geared towards promoting the access and use of the digital financial and informational services by smallholder farmers in Zambia.”
The AgriFin Accelerated Programme launch brought together experts in agriculture, financial services and digital technologies to review and define opportunities, challenges and the role of partnerships that benefit farmers.
During the launch yesterday, Mercy Corps also presented the 2016 Zambia farmer benchmark and ecosystem study findings.
AgriFin Accelerated programme director Leesa Shrader said in Zambia, AgriFin will support farmers engaged in cotton, beans, maize, sorghum and horticulture.
“In Zambia, more than 70 percent of the population is engaged in or derives its livelihood from agriculture-related activities. As in many developing countries, however, the demand for agricultural financing largely remains unmet,” she said.

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