The Agri Entrepreneur Growth Foundation (AEGF) has collaborated with Mastercard to launch Bharat Kisan Manch, its digital platform to provide millions of Indian farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs with access to markets and formal financial services. The platform will be powered by Mastercard’s Community Pass digital infrastructure, which makes it safer and easier for farmers to get paid more and faster for their produce.
AEGF is an implementation arm of Syngenta Foundation, also supported by the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Tata Trusts and several other social impact focused organizations in India. Mastercard Community Pass is designed to overcome infrastructure challenges that arise in digitizing rural communities, such as unreliable connectivity, low smartphone ownership, and lack of consistent identification or credentials.
This collaboration will combine Mastercard’s expertise in technology and digital payments with AEGF’s network of 15,000+ agricultural entrepreneurs in rural areas, to expand farmers’ access to knowledge, products, services, and partnerships. The initiative aims to benefit millions of farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs over the next three years, enabling them to gain easier access to markets and formal financial services.
The collaboration is part of AEGF’s commitment to equip 20 million smallholder farmers in India with the much-needed digital tools and financial services, and in the process, create sustainable livelihoods for 100,000 agricultural entrepreneurs by 2030.
Rajendra Jog, Executive Director, Syngenta Foundation India, and Director, AEGF, said, “This collaboration between Agri Entrepreneurs Growth Foundation and Mastercard will accelerate the digitization of millions of smallholder farmers and tens of thousands of rural entrepreneurs incubated by the Foundation. This will help the smallholders to enhance their income by reducing the input cost and increasing the output price and will provide access to credit and crop advisory, leveraging the Bharat Kisan Man platform.
Simon Winter, Global Head, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, said, “By engaging with Community Pass, farmers can gain easier access to agricultural services that can lead to greater efficiency, improved crop yields, higher prices, and increased profits. Moreover, farmers with a digital presence can better build their credit profiles and gain access to institutional credit.”
Through Mastercard’s Community Pass digital infrastructure and AEGF’s agricultural entrepreneur network and training, farmers can gain access to new marketplaces and a much wider pool of potential buyers, enabling them to improve their livelihoods in a commercially sustainable way.
Tara Nathan, EVP, Digital Innovation for Emerging Markets, Mastercard, said, “Mastercard has been actively working in several countries to digitize agricultural value chains and connect farmers with buyers for the supply and purchase of produce, as well as to provide farmers with greater access to inputs, advisory, and financial services. Community Pass helps farmers generate transaction history and credit-building opportunities, leading to increased farmer inclusion in the formal financial system. This initiative is also in line with the Indian government’s efforts to foster inclusive growth by leveraging technology. This collaboration with AEGF will help build an effective model of agricultural digitization that can serve as a global example.”
Mastercard is already engaged in connecting individuals in underserved, remote and frequently offline communities with digital tools, including 1.5 million farmers in India who use Community Pass to access agricultural markets, providers of agricultural inputs like seeds and fertilizer, and financial services.
The Bharat Kisan Manch platform will be first launched in the states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and will gradually be taken to all markets in India.