Technology is reaching increasingly into smaller businesses, with farming soon to gain its own bespoke mobile payment and management system, being showcased by Green Edge Technology at last week’s AITEC banking and mobile money conference.
Now in its final phase of development before roll out, mKulima Banker is targeted at farmers with cellphones.“We will launch in May,” said Lucy Kirui, Chief Executive Officer of Green Edge Technology.
According to Emmanuel Mutai the project manager “it’s a mobile tool for rural farmers,” and is due to be trialed with 100,000 farmers in Kericho in dairy and tea farming. The farmers are part of the savings and credit societies (SACCO) of Ndege Chai and Kapsoit.
The technology will enable farmers, through the SACCOs, to buy farm inputs, apply for loans, budget, schedule farming seasons, transfer money to bank accounts and apply for advances. The system will initially run on internet enabled phones, but will be followed by a version to run on “lower end phones without internet,” said Mutai.
However, according to Lucy Kirui, farmers who invest in high end internet enabled phones will in the long run save on costs, as using web technology to run the applications is cheaper than using short message services (SMS). “Such a phone is only Sh2600,” she said. Also for the SACCOs it means they won’t pass costs to farmers when sending out financial statements.
The system has several parallel segments: mobile banker, SACCO banker, farm input purchaser, farm planner and Agrovet Mechanizer. Through the mobile banker, farmers will be able to transfer money between banks, monitor the build up of their savings, access records of farm produce and apply for advances.
All the processes will be real time without delays. So far, Green Edge has partnered with 5 local banks to facilitate transactions from mobile phones to banks.
Through mKulima SACCO Banker, the SACCO’s the farmers belong to will be able to disburse funds to their mobile phone wallets as well as access loan and advance applications requests from farmers. Local mobile payment systems like Orange Money, Yu Cash, M-Pesa and Zap will provide the conduit for farmers to get their payments.
The system will also allow farmers to order inputs from Agrovet Shops and pay for them via their mKulima bank segment. Transactions will be easy to monitor, as will delivery receipts on getting the inputs. From the Agrovets end, the shops will be able to monitor product orders and deliveries, advertise new ones to their farmer clients and process farmers payments.
To manage farm information ,the software has an application dubbed mKulima Farm Planner, where farmers will be able to schedule dates for artificial insemination, land preparation, weeding and harvest.
mKulima Banker was one of many mobile applications for businesses showcased at this year’s AITEC conference, in a flourishing of local development that is now set to put East Africa at the vanguard globally in the technological tools available to its businesses.
Written By James Karuga for African Laughter
Newer news items:
- M-Calc gives local weather solutions to up outputs - 13/06/2012 14:04
- JK aims to increase loans to rural farmers six-fold - 06/06/2012 08:42
- Agricultural growth slowed 2011 on drought - 22/05/2012 13:45
- Rice farmers cut costs and seed loss with plastic drum planting - 05/04/2012 13:14
- Farmers turn wild fruits into a money spinner - 01/03/2012 13:45
Older news items:
- 1000 farmers plant indian miracle tree - 01/03/2012 13:18
- Aloe vera adds up as precious weed - 01/03/2012 12:44
- Kakamega farmers scoop top global awards for growing wild plant - 01/03/2012 12:41
- Clones promise route to kplc pole market - 01/03/2012 12:26
- New study places livestock among drivers of economy - 01/03/2012 12:09