It is a given that we are living in an increasingly digital world. Thus it is now a norm to see the emergence of digital platforms and the surge in digital transactions. It is no wonder why we are also seeing lots of activity in online forex trading and cryptocurrencies, amongst others. Anyways, the GMB has also decided to join the digital bandwagon. Essentially they are set to roll out a digital service that will contribute to their efforts to incentivise farmers to sell their grain to them. Thus they have seen it expedient to streamline how farmers do their transactions.

Farmers To Transact Using A GMB e-Wallet Card

Farmers will now get a GMB e-Wallet Card. This will be an electronic card that will have password protection. It will basically be used in making online transactions. You can liken it to a debit card – like those for mobile money operators such as EcoCash and One Money. So a farmer will be able to use it for online transactions and at points of sale in retail outlets.

The Rationale Behind This Service

The GMB strongly feels that this service will bring about several benefits to the farmer. They feel it will buttress the security of farmers’ money. This is premised on the fact that most farmers (tobacco farmers for instance) have been victims of robberies or fraud when dealing with physical cash. Therefore dealing with electronic funds instead reduces the likelihood of such criminal activities. They also believe that such a service will broaden farmers’ opportunities to easily access formal financial services. This will mainly stem from the fact that the farmers will have a determinable and traceable digital financial footprint. Overall, the e-Wallet facility means farmers get to be paid much faster and conveniently. The fact that when transacting digitally, several payments can be bundled up together at once, means that payments can be issued out instantly.

Remarks By Grain Marketing Board (GMB) Chief Executive Officer, Rocky Mutema

What will happen is that we load money into that card. The farmer can use that card to go and transact. He can go to a supermarket and by his goods using that card. He can go to Farm and City or any input supply and buy using that card. The advantage of the card is that unlike bank-to-bank, where there is a time-lapse between transactions from one bank to another bank, whereas with this one we load money into the e-wallet, immediately, without any loss of time, the farmer can transact.”

Some Of The Recommendations From The Ministry Of Lands, Agriculture, Water, And Rural Resettlement

They recommended that the central bank must cushion the farmers against the cost of opening accounts and getting their ATM or debit cards issued. They also suggested that the central bank must waiver the charges when it comes to money transfers between accounts and the e-Wallet accounts. This is all meant to ensure that the value of the farmers’ money is not eroded by modalities.

What This Means For Mobile Money Service Providers

Well, these folk stand to benefit quite a lot from this e-Wallet service. Such a service will translate into increased mobile money transactions. In the process that will likely increase the number of people signing up on both the mobile money platforms and also the general MNOs’ networks. Ultimately this will also enhance customer loyalty to these mobile money service providers.

The government will also benefit from the increase in revenue generation from all those activities. The service largely promotes financial inclusion which implies an increase in money supply circulating in the mainstream monetary system. This widens the central bank and revenue authorities’ revenue pool. This of course does not exclude the possibility of unfavourable monetary and fiscal policies that might come into play in due course. Anyways, it is too early to make judgements; let us wait and see how the e-Wallet facility will pan out for the farmers.