HomeNewsCassava’s fintech solutions ease tobacco farmers’ woes

Cassava’s fintech solutions ease tobacco farmers’ woes

CASSAVA Smartech Zimbabwe says its financial technology products will help ease the burden on tobacco farmers during this marketing season by offering them convenient ways of receiving payment.

The farmers have so far received more than US$140 million from tobacco sales since the selling season began in April, 60% of the proceeds credited in their foreign currency accounts (FCA) while the remaining 40% is deposited into their local accounts.

Cassava Smartech chief executive Courage Mashavave said the listed group was leveraging on its financial technology units, including Steward Bank, along with EcoCash, to serve farmers.

“Finance is a driver of growth in the agriculture sector but improving farmers’ access to financial instruments is also key to their adoption of better farm technologies for greater productivity. As such, farmers must shift from traditional agricultural payment systems to using digital financial services,” he said.

Mashavave’s comments came amid reports that some tobacco farmers were spending up to a week at the auction floors awaiting payment.

He urged farmers to open both FCA and local currency accounts with Steward Bank, where they can seamlessly access their funds from anywhere and also transact through the ubiquitous EcoCash platform.

Steward Bank is offering a choice of two FCA nostro accounts; Dura Lite and Dura Gold. The Dura Lite FCA account requires basic know your customer (KYC) fulfilment, and is available for one to open a USSD account through on the phone. On the other hand, the Dura Gold FCA account requires more rigorous KYC compliance where customers need to physically visit a bank branch in order to open the account. These include a valid ID, passport or a driver’s licence, and two passport-size photos, among other things.

“To open a Dura Lite FCA account farmers only need to dial *236#, select open Steward Bank account, agree to the terms and conditions, select account type, which in this case is the Individual FCA, then select the category as a new or existing customer.

“You will receive an SMS confirming your FCA account number, and you may visit a Steward Bank branch or approved agent to get a debit card,” Mashavave said.

The benefits of a Dura Lite FCA account include linking of banking services to the EcoCash FCA no monthly service fee, visa card ($10) and remittances are deposited directly into the account. In addition, there is seamless FCA activation for existing Steward Bank account holders.

Customers can either transact using the EcoCash FCA wallet or using the local currency EcoCash wallet.

To change from local currency to the FCA wallet, one simply dials *151#, select wallet services, select multi-currency and proceed to change currency. They then select the USD FCA currency option. After completing the process, customers may use the same procedure to revert to their local currency EcoCash wallet.

EcoCash has over the years led in driving financial inclusion for every Zimbabwean even in remote areas, to ensure that those who cannot open bank accounts can transact using mobile payment platforms.

The global usage, acceptance and availability of EcoCash in the country by individuals and businesses makes it easier to transact via the mobile money platform.

Cassava has been instrumental in ensuring that farmers are well equipped with all the information and resources they need for improved productivity.

Through its various products and platforms, such as EcoFarmer and AgroFuture, the Cassava group is offering financial literacy training for farmers aimed at building farmers’ capacity, in terms of knowledge, skills, attitude and behaviour towards business and finances.

Recently, Cassava’s agricultural technology unit teamed up with Vaya Logistics to help tobacco farmers bring their produce to the auction floors.

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