After its success in Liberia, the African Development Bank is supporting another digital payment project in line with its agriculture transformation agenda. “AGRIPME” (Agri Porte Monnaie Electronique) is a joint project of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Digital Economy in Togo aiming to provide subsidies to farmers through electronic wallets provided by mobile network operators MOOV and TOGOCEL.
To date, 76,522 out of the 150,000 small-scale farmers have been identified and registered, allowing them to benefit from a US $1.3 million subsidy to buy inputs. The Government is essentially aiming to establish a secure database of small-holder farmers, the digitalization of input acquisition and the selection of input suppliers for fertilizers distribution. This innovative input distribution mechanism is based on the fact that Togo is among of the lowest users of fertilizers in the world. Prior to the ongoing reform of the agricultural sector, approximately 6 kilograms of fertilizers per acre were used in Togo, against the recommended 50 kg for good agricultural performance. Key components of the project were related to farmers’ registration, wallet openings, capacity building and sensitization, technical assistance and setting up an agricultural information system.
The Government is targeting 3 million farmers, which represents 70% of its total population. It is important to note the involvement and alignment of mobile network operators in Togo, in supporting the cost of 107,000 SIM cards, prefunding a communication campaign and establishing of call centres for customer support as part of their corporate social responsibility. In a second phase of the project and to speed up results, the Government of Togo will look to leverage on the latest innovative technologies such as geospatial mapping and biometric identification.
The long-term impact of this digital payment innovation resides in an opportunity for more than half the population to be recognized in the financial system and aspire to additional financial services and improved well-being.
The Togo e-registration of small-scale farmers is encouraging as it demonstrates the role and potential of the private sector in catalyzing the agricultural production by digitally empowering a traditionally excluded portion of the population, making them more attractive to financial institutions.