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Zambia to Zoona money to rural farmers

Zambia to Zoona money to rural farmers

The Zambian government plans to use Zoona's mobile money services to pay farmers in rural areas.

According to the Minister of Finance Felix Mutati Zoona's technology addresses financial inclusion constraints and bottlenecks, adding that the use of traditional forms of money transfer was not reliable and prone to corruption by agricultural officers.

Mutati said in the next farming season the government will allocate money to Zoona for distribution.

"We have to look at transmission mechanisms using technology and making it easier for people to get their money."

Mutati told ITWeb Africa that the decision to partner with Zoona is based on the announcement by the company that it was reducing its prices by up to 60% effective 1 June, 2017.

He could not confirm the cost to roll out the initiative because the government has not yet determined how many states will benefit.

In March this year, the government announced it was stopping the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), effectively abandoning the electronic voucher (e-voucher) system which dealt with agriculture inputs claiming it was not yielding any results.

The decision was also based on the compliance with a directive from International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the country to borrow up to US$1.5 billion needed to revamp the country's ailing economy.

However, the government still procures maize through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) from small-scale farmers in rural areas.

Zoona did not respond to questions on the value of the deal or how the initiative will impact its local operations  - however, Caesar Siwale, chairperson of the board, expressed his delight over the decision by the government to partner with the company.

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