In a bid to improve financial access and inclusion for farmers in India, Mastercard partnered with Lawrencedale Agro Processing India (LEAF), an agriculture value chain enabler, to soft launch LEAF Farmer Network (LFN) in early 2021. The objective behind launching LFN was to enable farmers to become a part of the digital ecosystem by empowering them through enhanced access to markets, knowledge, digitisation of income and access to credit with high levels of transparency, data privacy and consent.
To generate awareness and drive adoption of the platform amongst farmers, Mastercard and LFN launched an outreach campaign covering more than 100 villages in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Over a period of one month, Kisan Sabhas (farmer assemblies) were conducted to explain the benefits of digitisation to farmers and to allow them to have their questions answered by agriculture experts, representatives from LEAF and Mastercard. The response was extremely positive with thousands of farmers attending the Kisan Sabhas and expressing interest in participating in digitisation initiatives.
Talking about the initiative, Palat Vijayaraghavan, Founder & CEO, Lawrencedale Agro Processing India (LEAF) said, “With LEAF Farmer Network (LFN), we are solving problems for millions of marginalised farmers across multiple touchpoints of their lifecycle. Be it in agronomy or market realisation, accessing effective financing or getting value for their work, the marginalised farmers are constantly running from pillar to post to get stability into their livelihoods. LFN solves all these problems at scale. Customised solutions are accessible at farmers doorstep, enabling them to focus on their core agriculture work, ensuring the marginalised farmers’ livelihoods are sustained and improved.”
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Nikhil Sahni, Division President, South Asia, Mastercard said, “The launch of LEAF Farmer Network powered by Mastercard supports the Government of India’s goal of doubling farmers’ income in the coming two years. One of the critical aspects for success is farmer adoption and trust. All the programme’s solutions are geared in this direction. Mastercard’s objective is to create a commercially sustainable digital ecosystem as we enable our bank and financial institution partners to drive rural banking, data-based agriculture credit for new segments, and exceed Priority Sector Lending (PSL) goals.”
LFN currently serves 140,000 farmers and aims to transform the lives of one million farmers by leveraging Mastercard technology aided by agent intervention. LFN also helps public and government institutions to channelise aid and benefits, drive transparency, efficient data-based reporting and advance financial inclusion.