Yesterday, Tigo Rwanda officially launched the ‘Tigo Payment Solution for Agriculture’ platform that has increased the financial and digital inclusion of over 10,000 tea farmers in two tea plantations located in Mulindi and Rusizi District.
The Tigo Payment Solution for Agriculture was created to provide mobile solutions for the agricultural sector in order to improve the communication and payment streams for local farmers. The platform, created in partnership with Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR), the Wood Foundation, TRAC Fund and local area Saccos, has improved the lives of the farmers working at the Mulindi and Shagasha tea factories in Gicumbi and Rusizi District respectively.
How the Tigo Payment Solution for Agriculture works
When the Mulindi and Shagasha tea factories pay the farmers’ salaries in their Sacco accounts, due to the technical integration between Sacco banking platform and Tigo Cash platform, the farmers are able to receive their monies on their TigoCash wallets on their handsets. After an SMS notification is sent to a farmer’s handsets informing them that money has reached their Sacco account, they can then go to their local Tigo Cash agent and receive their payment.
With this platform, farmers no longer need to travel to their local Saccos and queue in line to receive their payment.
Explaining how the platform has changed her life, Evangeline Bikorimana, a tea farmer from Gicumbi District, said;
“Before Tigo launched this platform, we would wake up extremely early to head to our local Sacco. In fact, we would sometimes sleep in our clothes so that we could leave our homes before daybreak so that we could arrive at the Sacco before others.
However, despite our best efforts, we would usually find a huge number of farmers waiting to receive their salaries. We would often have to go home and return the next day. Today that is no longer the case and it’s because of Tigo.”
In order for the project to be successful, Tigo facilitated the bulk purchase of affordable handsets for over 7,000 farmers who could not afford handsets.
Commenting on the success of the project and the lessons learnt, Judith Aguga Acon, Technical Director of AFR said;
“This project has enabled AFR to understand and appreciate SACCOs operations as well as the need for more innovations in the mobile financial services sector in order to enhance access to financial services by smallholder farmers and therefore improve their incomes and livelihoods. The lessons from this project should result in increased AFR investment in supporting agricultural finance. Most importantly, this project has shown that success can only be achieved in partnership with strategic partners like Tigo Rwanda as well as value-chain actors like Wood Foundation among others”
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Tigo Rwanda, Philip Amoateng, this platform is the latest in the line of innovations that Tigo has brought to the market.
“We are proud to have provided a medium for farmers to access their money in a seamless way using Tigo Cash. The platform that we are launching today is only the latest innovation that we have introduced in order to ease the lives of Rwandans while increasing digital and financial inclusion countrywide.
With the rapid growth in mobile phone penetration, mobile solutions can reach remote farmers in a way that no other form of communication can, helping them to improve productivity and increase efficiency throughout the agricultural chain.
Tigo believes that the agricultural sector is key to unlocking the economic power of mobile finance in rural communities. The success of this project can be replicated into a sustainable business model that will allow penetration of other value chains besides agriculture”.
Speaking at the launch as the Guest of Honor, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of Youth and ICT, reiterated the fact that ICT innovations and platforms such as the Tigo Payment Solution for Agriculture have the power to provide solutions to Rwanda’s challenges.
“Tigo Payment Solution for Agriculture platform is one of the best examples of how ICT can change lives. Currently, about 80% of Rwandans live in rural areas; so while we can talk of ‘Smart Cities’, we also cannot forget to talk about ‘Smart Villages’ as well. This platform is an example of what the Smart Village concept is all about. In fact, we need to deliver this platform much faster and to a wider user base.
This platform is a win-win. It is economically feasible as well as effective. Such initiatives need partnerships. We thank Tigo, AFR as well as the Wood Foundation for partnering. Let us keep innovating because the needs of the country are pressing“, Minister Nsengimana said in conclusion.
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