More than 100,000 smallholder farmers in Ethiopia will now be able to use technology to boost yield and access market more easily following the launch of a revolutionary digital platform.
Technology firm, Techno Brain Group has signed a partnership with Ethiopian based Green Agro solutions PLC to provide the digital agriculture insights to the smallholder farmers in Arsi Zone of Ethiopia to help decision based precision agriculture informative insights.
The Group said its Digital Agriculture Platform will help farmers improve crop yields, increase quality and access to markets as well as beef up income.
African smallholder farmers who are largely reliant on rain-fed agriculture are the most vulnerable to impacts of climate change. Apart from insufficient rain, disease and pest epidemics also make a huge challenge for the farmers.
The technology offered by Techno Brain will collate data; farm location using crop life cycle, seed details, land type, soil nutrition, Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, expected rainfall and weather patterns, and process the information on intelligent cloud to create insights that help the farmers make better farming decisions.
Ethiopia based Green Agro solutions supplies farm inputs and mechanization service to more than 20,000 smallholder farmers in Arsi Zone of Ethiopia.
In the new partnership, Techno Brain will provide a range of farming insights to farmers via Green Agro Solution for next 3 years. The farmers will receive relevant information on best methods to prepare the land, optimal sowing week, farm input availability, pest growth alerts, adverse weather notices, preferred harvesting time, market information and farming tips developed in collaboration with other knowledge partners.
Techno Brain Group Managing Director for Digital Business Anand Mohan said the information to be shared to the farmers via short message service (SMS) and interactive voice (IVR) platforms will help them improve yields by up to 20 percent.
“We are glad that we found a right partner to reach farmers and we are excited to kick start the project for the next crop cycle that starts in May 2019. Our initial plan is to start with Malt Barley farmers in Arsi Zone and gradually extend to other crops such as wheat and to other regions as well. We expect to improve the yields by 15 to 20 percent using data, analytics, and instant communication, “Mr Mohan said.
The farmers will have their digital profiles mapped in what Green Agro Solution Managing Director Abrham Endrias believes make the most economical approach to boost yiels for smallholder farmers in Africa.
The firm also hopes to leverage on it many years of experience in dealing with farmers in the region to make the innovative a success.
“Leveraging on our previous agribusiness experience, we are happy to partner with Techno Brain and we will ensure farmers understand these value additions. We already started creating farmers digital profile and plan to outreach an initial group of 5,000 malt barley growing smallholder farmers in the first season,” Mr Endrias said.
Techno Brain which also operates in the US, India, the UAE and 20 other countries, was the first indigenous African company to achieve the highest quality standards for software development.
The firm’s Ethiopia Country Director said increased production by the farmers was a vital guarantee for food security in the region.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.