The Grain Marketing Board of Zimbabwe (GMB) has joined the shift to digital with the launch of an e-wallet. In a report by ZBC News, the GMB has, on top of increasing its capacity, seen the need for farmers to have ease of access to their funds.
As I am sure you are all aware, an e-wallet is a password-protected or encrypted account of sorts that is used for online transactions. These wallets can be accessed through the user’s mobile phone, tablet, laptop or any other mobile device.
Farmers will reportedly now be able to recieve funds in real time and transact swiftly. This is a welcome development because farmers have been prayed upon by fraudsters at selling points.
“What will happen is that we load money into that card. The farmer can use that card to go and transact. He can go to a supermarket and by his goods using that card. He can go to Farm and City or any input supply and buy using that card”Rocky Mutema, Grain Marketing Board Chief Executive Officer
The GMB e-wallet will also improve financial inclusion because farmers from across Zimbabwe will have greater access to formal financial services.
“The advantage of the card is that unlike bank-to-bank, where there is a time-lapse between transactions from one bank to another bank, whereas with this one we load money into the e-wallet, immediately, without any loss of time, the farmer is able to transact,”Rocky Mutema, Grain Marketing Board Chief Executive Officer
Govt looking to absord farmer bank costs?
Farmers, especially those in remote areas, often find it difficult to open full KYC accounts. This is mostly because they aren’t that many bank branches across the country.
Farmers in rural areas also have to foot the bill for travel to cities with bank branches as well as bank opening, transfer and debit card issuances charges. This is something that the government is looking to address per the recommendations to the RBZ in the “Report of the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement on the 2020 Zimbabwe Cotton Marketing Season: The Farmer’s Experience“.
One of the promises of the GMB farmer e-wallet is that it will reduce the cost of transactions (in receiving payments from the GMB) but there were no specific details given. There were also no application requirements stated for the e-wallet. But the hope is that since the GMB already has farmer KYC information on file it the e-wallet opening process will be streamlined.
As an aside, I am sure there those among you who might be wondering which organisation the GMB is working with on the e-wallet. Our best guess is that ICECash is probably the payments service in collaboration with the govt.