Togo: Togolese operators support digital farming project
With support from the African Development Bank (AfDB), electronic wallets provided by Togolese mobile network operators Moov and Togocel will facilitate the provision of farming subsidies in a joint project of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Digital Economy in Togo called AGRIPME (Agri Porte Monnaie Electronique).
Gueye Maimouna, Principal Financial Inclusion Officer at African Development Bank says 76,522 out of the 150,000 small-scale farmers have been identified and registered, allowing them to benefit from a US$1.3 million subsidy to buy inputs.
“The Government is essentially aiming to establish a securedatabase of smallholder farmers, the digitalisation of input acquisition and the selection of input suppliers for fertilizers distribution. This innovative input distribution mechanism is based on the fact that Togo is among of the lowest users of fertilizers in the world. Prior to the ongoing reform of the agricultural sector, approximately 6 kilograms of fertilizers per acre were used in Togo, against the recommended 50 kg for good agricultural performance. Key components of the project were related to farmers’ registration, wallet openings, capacity building and sensitisation, technical assistance and setting up an agricultural information system.”
The Togolese government is targeting 3 million farmers, which represents 70% of its total population according to the AfDB.
“It is important to note the involvement and alignment of mobile network operators in Togo, in supporting the cost of 107,000 SIM cards, prefunding a communication campaign and establishing of call centres for customer support as part of their corporate social responsibility. In a second phase of the project and to speed up results, the government of Togo will look to leverage on the latest innovative technologies such as geospatial mapping andbiometric identification.”
Maimouna says the long-term impact of the AGRIPME digital payment innovation resides in an opportunity for more than half the population to be recognised in the financial system and aspire to additional financial services and improved well-being.
“The Togo e-registration of small-scale farmers is encouraging as it demonstrates the role and potential of the private sector in catalysing the agricultural production by digitally empowering a traditionally excluded portion of the population, making them more attractive to financial institutions.”
The AfDB says the decision to roll out AGRIPME in Togo was inspired by the success of a similar project implemented in Liberia earlier in 2016 on the back of technology provided by Cellulant Nigeria Ltd.
Source: IT Web Africa