The Humanitarian & Development unit of MasterCard is focused on driving human impact and commercial results through innovation across a number of dimensions. This partnership is building digital roads that enable marginalized smallholder farmers to get what they need, everywhere and always. The MFN Community Pass (CP) digital platform facilitates service delivery for marginalized smallholder farmers. It looks at the individual and all her roles. The platform provides a common safe, secure, and intuitive experience for her, by engaging with a robust set of products. The MFN digitizes the agricultural value chains, payments, and workflows by enabling a digital rural ecosystem of agriculture supply chain which includes all participants from farmers, buyers, agri-input dealers, extension workers among others. The Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE) is the largest non-governmental farmers’ organization in Uganda. Its objective is to mobilize the farming community and voices under one independent umbrella organization. UNFFE’s vision is empowered farmers through strong farmers’ organizations and its activities are geared at achieving its mission to promote favorable policies for farmer empowerment and strengthen farmer organizations. MasterCard and UNFFE have had initial discussions to collaborate and leverage the large members’ database of farmers for Agriculture digitalization. The digitization initiatives ongoing by both organizations are complementary and when put together shall increase the value of farmers’ membership.
1.2 Why MFN Program
The agricultural sector dominated by crops, animal farming, forests and fishing contributed over 29 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and over 70 per cent of export earnings in the financial year 2019/2020. The sector is also providing about 60 per cent of employment opportunities, majority of which are women 65 percent and youth. It should be noted that over 70 per cent of the farmers are smallholder farmers based in rural areas, whose operations are greatly affected by; climate change, weak digital skills, limited access to productivity knowledge along value chains, limited access to quality farm inputs, weak logistics systems, limited access to quality extension services, weak business intelligence, limited access to quality markets among others.
Therefore, the need for ICT based solutions in the agricultural sector can no longer be ignored since they have proven to improve farmers’ skills in understanding of knowledge, enhances adherence to production protocols, improves farmer information seeking behaviour and results into improved negotiation skills, better decision making and overall improved household income.
Based on the initial discussions, 3 areas of collaboration emerge. The areas are described below:
Area 1: Acquisition of District Farmers’ Association (DFA) on to the MFN platform
The Federation has digitization as a key strategy to mobilize and organize farmers. Today, the federation has implemented a digital extension service for its members. MFN, which digitizes payments and farmer organization work flows heavily compliments the ongoing digitization efforts for the federation, it enhances the value proposition to members and supports the federation’s work in providing eco system linkages for its members.
The Federation shall work with MasterCard and its selected program owners to deploy MFN to its member associations at the district level. This shall provide the MFN platform with the needed critical mass to unlock value for agriculture value chain actors participating on the platform. MFN today is deployed in Uganda through MasterCard’s Program Owners Yo Uganda and Equity Bank Uganda. The Federation has a preference to work with Yo Uganda for this initial work. Yo Uganda has deployed MFN in the market under the white label of Yo Pay Agri. The acquisition of DFAs shall cover:
Providing MFN platform knowledge to a selected team at UNFFE including training on how the platform functions
Identifying and selecting DFAs that shall be acquired and on boarded in this initial phase of collaboration. This shall include having a selection criterion that covers the readiness of the DFA to take on technology, the number of farmers and how much they contribute to the targeted number and the current services especially bulking and selling that the DFA is providing its members.
Work with MasterCard program owner, Yo Uganda to acquire, train and onboard the selected DFAs. Yo Uganda shall take on the running responsibility to support the DFAs in collaboration with the Federation. MasterCard Farmers Network shall be deployed to selected DFAs under Yo Uganda as Program Owner for the deployment. Each District Association shall get its own instance for MFN and shall be able to on board agents / extension workers who drive the digitization of production and transaction data with farmers. The DFA leadership shall be sensitized and trained on MFN as part of the onboarding process.
Work with MasterCard implementation partner on research and administrative aspects of this collaboration.
Work with MasterCard and program owner to define, develop and implement awareness campaigns for the Federation members.
Area 2: Collaboration on Digitization Efforts
Uganda National Farmers Federation has on going digitization initiatives aimed at providing an extension service to its members. The objective of a collaboration is to give the members / farmers a holistic service digitally as the extension service complements the functionality of MFN. The collaboration shall focus on scoping and planning how business and technology wise the 2 solutions can work and share information.
This shall be done in 2 phases:
Technology Deep Dive sessions and discussions: The Federation, MasterCard and where applicable Program Owners shall work together to identify, align, and design the technology collaboration needs. This shall result in an agreed Business Requirements Document that shall guide the technical development roadmap for the technology collaboration.
Technology Development: This shall follow an agreed implementation road map coming out of the design and planning sessions held.
Documentation and agreements on the engagement model for the technology collaboration shall be agreed and developed at the design and planning phase.
Area 3: Getting the Federation Members Community Pass (CP)
Ready MasterCard has developed an interoperable digital platform facilitating service delivery for marginalized individuals and communities. It is a shared infrastructure that supports digitalization of life transactions. This collaboration shall explore how the Federation can leverage the platform to enhance and increase service delivery to its members thus giving more value for their membership through the access to services they receive on the platform. Together with MasterCard, the Federation shall:
Explore which CP components enhance value to its members and how pilot or deployment with MasterCard Program Owners can be actualized. This shall include:
Digital Identity: Explore how members can get a digital identity. By enabling digital identity for its members, UNFFE makes it easier to actualize linkages to relevant services for its members who can plug and play into the CP platform easier and leverage the digital identities for members to provide services.
Multi Wallet: Explore how the CP Wallet enables members access credentials for multiple Community Pass products from a single card or non-mobile device.
CP Point of Interaction (POI): This is point of interaction between a user (member / farmer) and community pass through a device. Explore how UNFFE can leverage its membership geographical spread as well as its extension teams to provide acceptance for CP based transactions for members and nonmembers alike.
Work with identified Program Owners and MasterCard to get members onto the CP platform.
Similar to the technology collaboration, the Federation and MasterCard shall have deep dive sessions to understand the community pass platform, identify components that enhance the Federation membership and design deployment initiatives and pilots with Program Owners.