Are the 'small guys' the future of mobile banking for agribusiness?

By Richard Jones 23 July 2014

Michael Spencer, founder and CEO of SmartMoney, an organization that aims to reduce poverty by providing affordable financial services to rural people in developing countries. Photo by: SmartMoney

Recent research has revealed there is a race among commodity buyers to have the fastest speed of payment to the farmer.

However, technology alone is not enough, as the reality on the ground is that companies must also find ways to reach local communities, educate people to use — and trust — the system, find enough funds to implement the ideas while continuing to innovate, and ultimately achieve scale so the projects are sustainable in the long term.

During last week’s Fin4Ag 2014 conference on revolutionizing finance for agricultural value chains in Nairobi, Kenya, a number of participants shared lessons learned on how to apply market research into analyzing cash usage behavior patterns of farmers, form strategic alliances and better integrate their agriculture extension programming.

SmartMoney is one mobile financial services provider working with large cotton and coffee buyers in Uganda to transition their cash payments to mobile payments. Devex caught up with its founder and CEO Michael Spencer on the sidelines of the meeting to discuss how mobile financing can help farming communities in the developing world.

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About the author

Richard jones profile
Richard Jones@richard_devex

Richard oversees editorial content for campaigns and media partnerships at Devex. Previously an associate editor, he covered the full spectrum of development aid in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, supervising a team of correspondents and writers, penning articles and conducting high-level video interviews at events across the EMEA region. Currently based in Barcelona, Richard brings to bear 12 years of experience as an editor in institutional communications, public affairs and international development. His development experience includes stints in the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Ecuador.

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