The role of the rural small scale farmer cannot be under estimated in the push for sustained food security. Populations are rising and these people will always need food, its byproducts and other farming products. True, farming activities are increasing over the years but this is not necessarily translating into better finances and better quality of lives to a majority of rural small holder farmers, majority of who are women. If anything, the gap seems to be widening, with the larger chunk of farming activities and earnings continually being controlled by large scale farmers and multinationals.
The way forward for all round food and financial security is to dispel the unfortunate and ongoing reality that rural farmers without the means and might to produce great results are often excluded from the financial benefits that are resultant of modern farming methods. There are thousands of farmers in the rural areas who have all it takes except financial support and modern farming knowhow. Granted, there is a lot of help already going to these farmers but more is still needed
It this light, the MasterCard Foundation Fund has launched a USD50 Million fund to help small holder farmers across Africa. The Fund aims to expand access to financial services for at least one million people in rural or agricultural areas of Africa who are currently excluded from the financial system. It aims to do so by supporting financial service providers or institutions with financial solutions to develop new innovative financial products or services, or expand existing business models.
The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity will operate on three guiding principles:
Impact – Projects should have a positive effect on the lives of the rural poor through job creation, income generation, productivity gains and reduced vulnerability.
Innovation – The Fund intends to harness the creativity and capacity of the financial sector and agribusinesses to innovate, increase access and deliver financial services.
Sustainability – Projects supported under the Fund should state explicitly how they aim to achieve financial sustainability over time.
For every challenge there is a huge opportunity for transformation and here is a chance for small holder farmers to unleash their potential. If you are an organization with an innovative financial product, service or delivery platform which is capable of reaching those without financial access, then follow this link and apply for funding today.