2012-07-31

Cell Phone As Farm Tool: Mobile Payments Are Changing The Lives Of African Farmers

Using mobile phones, organizations are making it easy for anyone to access banks and insurance, creating a more stable life for rural farmers in the developing world.

The life of a farmer can be full of quick changes in fortune: Drought, blight, and other natural occurrences can change the financial outlook of a farm overnight. Banks, insurance, and other modern financial instruments are hugely important in smoothing out these ups and downs. But in the developing world, where farmers often don’t have access to financial institutions (if they even exist), life often means balancing on a razor’s edge. But farmers in Africa have a new tool to help them with their crops. They’re using their cell phones for banking services: making and receiving payments, and purchasing insurance. It’s a revolutionary use of technology that’s transforming how people in the developing world interact with money.

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4 Comments

  • Zmcconnell

    M-Pesa is the world's most popular.  Just as cell phones bypassed government monopoly phone companies, M-Pesa obliterates the need for banks, which are non-existent for most of the world's farmers anyway.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M...

  • sydney

    It sounds super similar to Musoni (www.musoni.eu), which provides mobile money services to the rural unbanked through the world's first cash-less microfinance platform! Musoni invests not only in farmers but any and all unbanked small-business owners. It's so amazing to see creative leverage of already natural habits to increase access to opportunity! Keep doing what you do :)

  • GreenThumbs62

    Do you know the specific products/tools used? I have spoken to farmers in New England who claim this type of tool has helped them vastly increase their farmers market revenues.

    Sanne Kure-Jensen
    Agricultural Writer 
    Rhode Island

  • Nick Pulido

    Local currency, or bitcoins would cut out the middleman entirely. All it takes for a currency to succeed is for people to agree to accept it, why do we need all the middlemen? Farmers know this better than most. Setup a couple supply stores and a market that accept Bitcoin and you're ready to rock.