ThinkAg

THINKAG HARVESTING TOMORROW SUMMIT

11 – 12 October, 2023 | Goa, India

 

Summary: Mastercard is committed to ‘doing well by doing good.’ Community Pass is a social impact business at Mastercard, creating digital infrastructure that provides access to critical services to underserved, remote, and frequently offline communities. Running on the larger Community Pass platform, Farm Pass is transforming the Ag landscape by providing a digital marketplace connecting smallholder farmers to the agricultural and financial ecosystem. To date, Community Pass has reached 4.5 million individuals and small businesses globally, including 2 million smallholder farmers in India.

Godwin Frezer and Anita Godwin in the Nilgiris have been farming beetroot and carrots for over 20 years, but it was always a challenging affair. Over the last three years, since they joined the LEAF Farmer Network (LFN), an initiative of Lawrencedale Agro Processing Ltd, powered by Mastercard Farm Pass, they have received better advisory solutions, inputs, credit access and output market linkage. The platform has helped them significantly improve their earnings as well as mitigate the risk of unsold produce and low prices in the open market. LFN intervention has even helped this farmer couple to support their two daughters’ post graduate education and enable them to get jobs with leading multinational corporations.

For other smallholder farmers like Saravanan and Prabhu in southern India, Farm Pass enables them to understand the market value and receive a fair price for their produce. “This is a big revolution,” says Saravanan, “and a benefit to all farmers.”

Farmers across the agricultural value chain in rural and often offline communities struggle to navigate a complex ecosystem fraught with inefficiencies where smallholder farmers—who account for over 85% of India’s agrarian economy—are often unable to earn a living wage from their produce. They have little room to negotiate prices and lack cash on hand and access to credit to buy quality pesticides and fertilizers to maximize their harvest. Digital technologies can unlock better pricing and payments for these farmers, giving way to a future where they get paid more and faster.

Leveraging Mastercard’s core competencies and expertise as a global payments and technology company, Farm Pass is helping to lead this innovation in India.

Piloted in Kenya in 2015 and since expanded to Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and India, Farm Pass brings together people from both the supply and demand sides in an agricultural marketplace to support farming communities. Connecting an ecosystem of Ag and finance stakeholders, the platform aims to improve the lives and livelihoods of farmers across India, driving digital inclusion and social impact at scale.

The Farm Pass digital marketplace and data platform connects farmers directly with buyers, empowering them to negotiate the best price for their produce. Farmers can also access quality farming products, like seeds and fertilizers, through the platform, as well as get paid and pay digitally. A digital record of their transactions means they have the validated financial history they need to apply for loans to finance and grow their businesses over time. Farmer Produce Organisations (FPOs) and village entrepreneurs, who aggregate farmer produce for sale, can also avail supply chain financing via the Trade Receivables electronic Discounting Systems (TReDs) platform, enabling them to pay the farmers instantly. And for buyers, they can source their products more efficiently from a larger network of farmers.

How the platform works

Farm Pass runs on Mastercard’s larger social impact platform Community Pass, which has a dual mission to drive financial and digital inclusion whilst developing commercially sustainable models to reach underserved segments. Community Pass is a shared, interoperable digital platform that overcomes infrastructure challenges, like limited connectivity, and facilitates the delivery of critical services to these communities.  

Similar to its core business, Mastercard provides a set of franchise rules, enabling its partners to play different roles within the ecosystem, and a value model that standardizes value distribution for ecosystem actors to ensure scale and equity.  While ensuring robust data privacy, security, and consent management, the Farm Pass platform promotes transparency and trust across the ecosystem by providing a digital profile to farmers of their transaction history. Users are assisted by a “phygital model” through digital agri-agents using a device that works in both offline and online settings, ultimately allowing providers, including financial institutions, the ability to increase reach and reduce the cost of acquisition and service delivery.  

Community Pass will also be launching an offline-enabled payment card for the farmers, which will allow them to receive sale and credit funds to the card and spend within the local villages without the need for POS devices or connectivity.

Making an impact

Farm Pass has already made significant progress in helping to alleviate farmer challenges and rural agribusiness pain points. In India, tomato and carrot farmers on Farm Pass have reported that their output has increased by 20%, and that they have been able to receive up to 20% higher prices for their produce.  

Today, Community Pass provides 4.5 million users globally across India and various countries in Africa and with both payments and non-payments solutions in a seamless, consistent user experience. Launched in South India in 2021, Farm Pass is now among the top 10 agritechs in India due to its farmer reach and has registered 2 million users to date. Mastercard has committed to registering 30 million people globally to Community Pass and aims to increase its reach in India to 15 million people by 2027.

To learn more about Community Pass and its work in India, please contact a Mastercard representative at communitypass@mastercard.com