An American multinational financial services corporation, Mastercard has collaborated with an Indian-based premier fresh produce supply chain company, Lawrencedale Agro Processing India (LEAF) to launch the LEAF Farmer Network (LFN), a digital platform designed to improve financial assessment and inclusion among farmers in India.
LFN will empower farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu by digitizing harvest data, improving market access, providing expertise on better crops, and, most importantly, increasing transparency by connecting directly with buyers.
Also Read: With ₹2,000-3000Cr budget, Centre to Modernize, Digitalize 97,000 PACs
‘The players in the agrarian ecosystem are hampered by a lack of transparent access to actionable information. Digitization addresses this issue by establishing a virtuous circle between farmers and markets, allowing for greater access to information. We are thrilled to be partnering with Mastercard to carry on our years of work in bringing about a positive change in the livelihoods of marginalized farmers, said Palat Vijayaraghavan, Founder & CEO, LEAF, in a statement.
Digitization in its entirety
LFN will provide access to high-quality produce on a large scale, allow for price negotiation with complete transparency, and manage end-to-end logistics with quality control. Farmers manage and control the entire process, with assistance from LFN agents.
‘The central component of LFN is the digitization of the produce purchasing process. It is a high-touch model with a dedicated on-the-ground farmer advisory and change management staff. It is empowered by a Technology that is rurally relevant, secure, phone-driven, and internet agnostic provided by Mastercard,’ Vijayaraghavan explained.
LFN would then digitize marketplaces, payments, workflows, and farmer transaction histories by connecting buyers, farming inputs, suppliers, ag-techs, and banks with FPOs/farmers, thereby assisting in the creation of a commercially sustainable ecosystem comprised of all relevant agricultural production value chain players with balanced commercial exchange mechanisms.
Increasing farm income by twofold
This project will also assist farmers by providing holistic training and capacity building throughout the harvest’s lifecycle, such as post-harvest management in order to reduce waste.
‘LFN will use the power of digital technologies to bring relevant stakeholders from across the Agri value chain together to ensure that farmers have direct access to the knowledge, skills, and markets which they currently lack. Mastercard is delighted that this approach, in collaboration with LEAF, will have a tangible positive impact on farmers’ earnings, supporting the Union government’s goal of doubling farmers’ income in the next two years,’ said Nikhil Sahni, Division President, South Asia, Mastercard.
Also Read: Govt provided financial support to farmers to encourage organic farming
The introduction of LFN is an extension of Mastercard Farm Pass, a pilot program launched in Andhra Pradesh in 2018. Farm Pass is a key component of Community Pass, a shared, interoperable digital infrastructure for the rural population that improves access to critical services while lowering costs. Farm Pass now supports 600,000 farmers in India and East Africa, assisting many farmers in increasing their incomes by 25-50%.