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The MasterCard Foundation, which is an independent global organization based in Toronto Canada, has launched a $50 million fund to help smallholder farmers in Africa.
The Foundation's "Fund for Rural Prosperity", is a challenge fund granted to improve the lives of smallholder farmers in Africa by enabling businesses to begin or expand financial services in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative falls in line with Farm Concern International’s (FCI) vision which is to commercialize smallholder farmers with increased incomes for improved, stabilized and sustainable livelihoods in Africa.
Farm Concern International, (FCI), is an Africa-wide market development agency whose focus is smallholder commercialization. FCI does this through developing modern marketing concepts and building business relationships through strategic alliances to enhance competiveness in the market place, economic growth, sustainability and profitability of farming enterprises in various countries of Africa.
While launching the fund, the President of MasterCard Foundation Reeta Roy noted that many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have enjoyed substantial economic growth over the last decade but much of this growth has not benefitted the rural poor, especially smallholder farmers who are mostly women and who depend on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods.
The fund is meant to support innovative ideas that have the potential to grow to scale and also have a deep social impact on the lives of rural people living in poverty throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. FCI has for the past decade build structures to turn the mind-sets of smallholder farmers from subsistence to commercialize agriculture. Through the Commercial Village Model (CVM), a hybrid model of FCI, typical social administrative villages are designed and systematically graduated into commercialized competitive market-led agricultural production units. The model is supported by a business incubation and graduation pathway that is efficiently organized to evolve social administrative villages into commercial villages that meet the modern markets quantity and quality requirements through bulking and quality assurance.
The Master Card Fund will have a $15 million allocation for innovation to support the development of ideas for new products, services or processes that increase access to finance for the rural poor. In line with this, FCI recently launched the AFMA-X Platform which is a commodity exchange initiative meant to facilitate traders and farmers acquire goods and services needed, quickly, efficiently and cheaply. The platform also facilitates the two users advertise, sell, order and pay for the wares online by the use of a mobile phone. The technology involved is as simple as sending money via the phone after registering by dialing *384*6# and follow other simplified series of steps.
At Farm Concern International, we are excited about innovations and fresh ideas that impact positively on the livelihoods of the smallholder farmer. We envision commercialized African households with increased incomes for improved, stabilized and sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond; we are happy to support any cause that helps us meet this vision.
FCI VISION :Commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond.