Visa joins with the Clinton Development Initiative, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, to implement a digital payments pilot in Rwanda, empowering local farmers to grow their businesses wisely and securely.
The Clinton Development Initiative (CDI) works to empower smallholder farmers by improving their access to trainings and resources and developing agribusinesses that help increase their economic potential. This takes access to local markets and services and financial education. Loans and grants help too. Now, CDI is partnering with Visa to architect an electronic payment system that will bring fast and secure digital payments to farmers in Rwanda.
Why is this important? The new offering removes the burden and inefficiencies that come from handling large amounts of cash. Visa’s solution ensures a safe, efficient way of selling produce and purchasing supplies, like seed and fertilizer, and ensures that the intended recipients get paid. It also opens up doors to big agribusinesses, which have a need to buy from smallholder farmers but are limited by their cash-based operations.
The effort also bridges thousands of smallholder farmers to formal financial services. Through the program, farmers will have a store-of-value account in which to save their earnings securely. Leveraging Visa’s financial literacy expertise, CDI’s smallholder farmer training and market access programs will help farmers adapt to digital payments to enhance their money management skills and invest responsibly.
One farmers’ cooperative will test the waters first, using a Visa product to send and receive payments through a local bank. Based on in-depth analysis of this first phase, CDI and Visa will roll-out the most fitting financial services to meet the needs of farmers throughout the Rwanda network so they can compete equitably in the market.
"The main barrier to increasing the yield of individual farmers is lack of access to working capital," says Stephen Kehoe, Senior Vice President for Global Financial Inclusion at Visa. "A secondary concern is making sure they get paid more quickly for their harvests. We think we can solve both sides of this equation if we both digitize the payment process and educate farmers, which is what this partnership with CDI is designed to achieve."