More than 2,000 oil palm farmers in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states now have access to digitalised financial services, thanks to a partnership between Releaf, a raw material procurement and logistics platform that is making it easy for crops to move from farm to factory, and OnePipe, a digital gateway enabling financial services.
The new partnership plans to expand into insurance services as part of its digital financial offering.
More than 65% of Nigerians are outside the financial services envelope, with millions unbanked or under-banked. The combination of Covid-19 disruptions and the widening digital divide in the rural and underserved areas have threatened the attainment of financial inclusion targets in Nigeria.
The new partnership comes as Thrive Agric has launched an ambitious one-year project to support 50,000 smallholder farmers growing rice, maize and soybean. As part of its commitment to strengthening agricultural value chains in the country, including for these three staple crops, the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) is backing this effort with a $1.75m co-investment grant.
Thrive Agric is also big on leveraging technology to support and create better livelihoods for smallholder farmers across Nigeria and Africa at large. Through its Tradr mobile app, for example, Thrive Agric gives farmers direct access to seed and other input providers, farm machinery service providers, and off-takers within their locations. Likewise, its Tmoni mobile app provides customers with a digital wallet on their phone, which they can use to send, receive, save and borrow money.
Meanwhile, the partnership between Releaf and OnePipe is seen as a welcome initiative to the National Financial Inclusion Strategy and provides opportunities for thousands of rural farmers across Nigeria’s South-South region.
Speaking on the collaboration, co-founder and chief technology officer for Releaf, Uzoma Ayogu, said; “Since inception, Releaf has empowered more than 1,000 farmers to supply more than ten million kilograms of quality crops to various food factories. While disbursements to our farmers have been largely cash-based, we now have access to digitalised fund disbursement via embedded, customised accounts, provisioned by OnePipe, to drive financial inclusion of previously financially excluded farmers in the digital economy.
“As a result, we can provide increased funding to farmers in a more seamless, scalable, and safe manner. We are also exploring other products like insurance and other services leveraging OnePipe’s infrastructure and strategic partnerships with an array of financial institutions.”