Zambia hints at fifth telco operator

A fifth telco
for Zambia?

Enough room says
industry regulator.

Wednesday, Feb 26th

Safaricom expects DigiFarm to outperform M-Pesa in five years

Safaricom expects DigiFarm to outperform M-Pesa in five years

An initiative that brings iProcure, Arifu and Farmdrive under Safaricom's DigiFarm brand has one million farmers on its books and is expected to outgrow M-Pesa in terms of revenue in the next five years, according to the telco.

DigiFarmwas established in 2017 to digitise a farmer's workflow from input to marketing and Safaricom claims 200,000 farmers use the service daily with 7,000 farmers taking up loans for farm inputs.

"We have provided a mobile technology platform for the smallholding farmers to access a suite of information and financial services, including discounted products, customised information and tutorials on farming practices," said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, chief financial services officer, Safaricom.

He added that, "The rate of growth has been phenomenal and we expect that DigiFarm will be bigger than M-Pesa in the next three to five years."

Digital platform The MasterCard Farmers Network (MFN) plans to leverage partnerships across emerging markets to enrol over a million farmers.

Currently 250 000 farmers from India, Uganda and Tanzania are subscribed to the platform which is used to digitise payments, workflows and historical financial information within this sector.

The platform has attracted the support of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) with the objective to attract more farmers in Uganda.

CIAT is working with Mastercard to scale up the MFN platform to support farmers in the bean value chain and targets one million bean farmers by 2020.

USADF aims to link underserved farmers to formal financial services through MFN, with a target of an additional 20,000 farmers by the end of 2019 with the intention to increase this number to one million by the end of 2020.

Raghav Prasad, Division President Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard, said: "Our partnership with CIAT and with USADF will significantly increase our reach to smallholder farmers and the rest of the agricultural ecosystem, allowing more people to enjoy the benefits of a digital economy and empowering them to grow their businesses."

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