The start-up Hiveonline links unbanked and remote communities of African smallholder farmers to financial services and trade opportunities to improve their livelihoods and financial stability. We partner with off-takers and banks to build an economic ecosystem for fair trade and access to formal credit for these communities.
Most of the population (60%) in sub-Saharan Africa are smallholder farmers who lack the financial resources to buy the necessary inputs to improve their yields and livelihoods. These communities do not have access to lending and credit because they do not have a financial history or digital ID data (“know your customer” or KYC data) that banks need to provide their lending services. Communities are often located in remote areas with no or low connectivity, far from financial institutions, while only 1% of bank lending on the continent is allocated to the agricultural sectors.
Smallholder farmers play a crucial role in feeding local populations and meeting international demand for agricultural commodities. The Sub-Saharan region’s food market is valued to reach USD 1 trillion by 2030, a significant growth from the 2017 value of USD 300 billion. However, many farmers will be unable to capture this market opportunity because of their inability to grow to meet the demand.
Technical details & Operations
Hiveonline has created two applications offering services to agricultural cooperatives and farmers’ associations
- myCoop.online is a mobile application that connects rural communities with financial services, buyers and traders of agricultural products to unlock opportunities for growth.
- VSLA online is also a mobile application that supports farmers if they are part of a savings group and want to include their savings in their financial footprint.
Thanks to digitisation, these communities can promote their work, get in touch with partners who are currently out of reach and have access to financial and commercial opportunities to grow.
These applications can be used to keep accounting books and digital registers, and to set up automated calculations for group or cooperative transactions (payments, loans, savings, social funds, etc.). They can also be used to monitor asset portfolios.
The application can also help with stock management: smallholder farmers who often have low digital, financial or functional literacy and can work on low to no connectivity areas. Users can own an account without owning a phone (one trained coop manager/agent with a smartphone can do the record-keeping for the whole group), and the app is available in multiple languages (including the local dialects).
Once groups and members have built up their digital information about themselves, their business and finances, the hiveonline platform enables them to choose whether to share this information with financial services institutions and off-takers. All financial data and transactions entered on our platform are recorded to a low-energy blockchain to make the information incorruptible and trustworthy. For larger organisations, being shown this information allows them to trust these communities more and understand their needs without having to physically travel and talk directly with each one
Deployment & Impact
Hiveonline has 8,500 users (and counting) on its platforms, and we have partnerships with microfinance institutions committed to lending to our users. We have facilitated over 7800 total transactions on our platforms. In Mozambique, we recorded 5,500+ production plans for seven crop types. Through our logistics partner, we are connecting farmers to 1,000 buyers who will soon start purchasing crops. We have live remote dashboards linked to our apps to monitor our impact, which we provide to our partners. We are committed to onboarding over 100,000 farmers on our platforms as part of our project in Mozambique in partnership with Norges Vel and AMPCM (Mozambican Association for the Promotion of Modern Cooperatives).