MasterCard Foundation partners to help rural African farmers

MasterCard Foundation and Opportunity International have formed a multi-million dollar partnership which will see farmers across rural Africa access business loans, potentially increasing yields by 160 percent.

The US$8 million programme, dubbed “Financial Services for Rural Communities and Smallholder Farmers in Africa”, will be implemented in Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Uganda, said MasterCard.

MasterCard’s earlier partnership with Opportunity International has seen over 23,000 agricultural loans given to 1 million depositors and borrowers in Ghana thus far.

Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation, told the Luv Biz Report that the farmers are experiencing high yields with the funds.

“A very important part of the project is to help farmers not only to have access to savings but to have access to extension services, fertilizer [and] planting techniques so that they can increase the yield of their crops and they can be plugged into the value chain so there is market access for their crops”, she said.

Farmers from around 33 districts and six regions are expected to benefit from the initiative.

Roy added that the farmers will use the savings to expand their farms and venture into new crops, as well as be able to pay for their children’s education.

MasterCard has set aside over $600 million to develop lives around the world, with about 70 percent of the funding going to Africa.

Its $500 million MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is set to enable over 15,000 underprivileged youth in Africa access education, mentorship and internship opportunities.

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