Mastercard has partnered with agriculture value chain enabler Lawrencedale Agro Processing India (LEAF) to expand financial inclusion and increase the incomes of more than 1 million farmers. Together the firms have launched the LEAF Farmer Network (LFN).
The platform is aimed at improving the lives of Indian farmers by leveraging technology aided by human intervention and solving multiple challenges of transparency in India's rural ecosystem.
LFN will empower farmers across Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu with digitisation of harvest data, enhancing access to markets, providing expertise on better crops, and bringing in a high level of transparency by connecting them directly with the buyer, explained LEAF in an official statement.
"The agrarian ecosystem players are hampered by lack of transparent access with actionable information. Digitisation solves this challenge by integrating a virtuous loop between farmers and markets, giving better access to information," said Palat Vijayaraghavan, Founder and CEO, LEAF.
He added that the core of LFN is digitising the produce buying process. "It is a high-touch model through a dedicated onground farmer advisory and change management team. It is enabled by a rural relevant, secure phone driven and internet agnostic technology provided by Mastercard," explained Vijayaraghavan.
The platform will digitise marketplaces, payments, workflows, and farmer transaction histories by connecting buyers, farming inputs, suppliers, agtechs, and banks with farmers which will help create a commercially sustainable ecosystem. The initiative will also support farmers through training and capacity building in entire lifecycle of the harvest, including post-harvest management to reduce wastage.
"It will leverage the power of digital technologies to bring together key stakeholders across the agri value chain to ensure that farmers get direct access to the knowledge, skills and markets that they currently lack," said Nikhil Sahni, Division President, South Asia, Mastercard.
"Together with LEAF, Mastercard is delighted that this initiative will have a tangible positive impact on farmers' earnings, supporting the Government of India's goal of doubling farmers' income in the coming two years," he added.
The launch of LFN is an extension of Mastercard Farm Pass, a pilot program that was introduced in 2018 in Andhra Pradesh.
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