When you ask farming entrepreneur John Nante Muyo if he’d rather carry a wallet full of Ghanaian cedi or his cell phone, the answer is easy. He’d much rather carry his cell phone.
“I have over the years faced the risk of theft traveling long distances from community to community with huge sums of money to transact business,” said Muyo.
He’s now doing more with his phone than making calls or sending messages. Through a mobile money system, Muyo is using his phone to conveniently and safely conduct business transactions and other financial obligations with his network of smallholder farmers.
The USAID Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) II project, implemented by ACDI/VOCA, introduced Muyo to the mobile money technology in 2014. Since then, he has encouraged more than 300 smallholder farmers to adopt the new system and improve the ease with which they perform business transactions.
Safer, Smarter Way of Sharing Money
The farmers Muyo works with also face challenges in moving money. They often travel long distances to send or receive money from family members. And they lack the means to save their money and invest it for future growth.
USAID/ADVANCE encourages savings among rural smallholder farmers while at the same time making payment options available to farmers especially in remote areas where there are no banks. The project uses the mobile money system with service provider MTN to promote electronic payments through mobile phones.
Expanding Mobile Money Services
Muyo is already benefitting from the mobile money system. Five months after signing on to the platform, he has made GH₵56,000 ($1,400) in payments through the mobile money system.
In addition, the new system provides Muyo with an additional source of income. He serves as a merchant point where his neighbors can electronically transfer money. MTN pays him a set percent commission for each transaction that he completes. In the last five months, his neighbors have transferred GH₵379,703 ($98,000) using his merchant point.
“The mobile money has opened a new chapter in my business operations,” reports Muyo. “When I buy soya now, I don’t pay cash. I come home and load the mobile wallets of the farmers with their monies. I no longer carry money to the communities, and this has saved me from threat of armed robbers. I am glad the whole community has also benefited, and each day many people troop to my house to send money to other places or receive money from their relatives in the bigger cities.”
USAID/ADVANCE II is increasing the use of the mobile money by piloting the services to more value chain actors in the project’s intervention zones. In the last five months, more than 1,000 smallholder farmers have been reached with the new technology.
USAID/ADVANCE supports the scaling up of private sector investment and involvement in the maize, rice, and soybean value chains to achieve food security among the rural population in the north.