The Irish Potato Value Chain Financing (IPoVaF) programme is a two-year project, supported by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR), an organisation founded by DFID, SIDA, USAID and Mastercard Foundation. IPoVaF aims to increase access to (digital) financial services for smallholder (<1 ha) potato farmers in order to enhance 2productivity, income and job opportunities.
SPARK and our partners* focus upon:
1. Training & coaching of farmers’ cooperatives (who own a potato collection point) in business, finance, entrepreneurship, market and cooperative management skills;
2. Facilitating enhancement of market position, efficiency and managerial competencies for Irish Potato small holder farmers (SHFs), as well as strong, sustained business relations with other chain operators (market players);
3. Developing a mobile platform whereby financial services, such as paying, saving, borrowing and insurance, will be accessible to farmers without ever having to enter a bank branch;
4. Increasing financial literacy, changing the mind-set of SHFs towards digitisation, access and use of digital information and services.
The mobile platform for farmers on simple, non-smart phones (no internet access needed) goes hand-in-hand with providing financial education and creating confidence in digital technologies. The platform also offers information services, such as education in the field of entrepreneurship, good agricultural practices, climate and communication via chat and push messages between cooperative members, suppliers and buyers. We believe this project will improve the lives of farmers by strengthening cooperatives enhancing market capacity development and improving access to financial services.
*Our partners include financial institutions and digital solution providers: Rwandan Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MNICOM), Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), Rwanda Federation of Irish Potato Farmers (FECOPORWA), Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and N-Friends.