An inclusive payment system to support small-scale farmers and poor families will be developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and MasterCard. This was reported by FAO in September 2015.
Among other activities, the collaboration between FAO and MasterCard will explore ways to provide credit or money to households for purchases of basic needs and farming inputs on local markets, thereby supporting local economies and putting financial tools in the hands of economically marginalized communities.
The effort is meant to benefit from the complementary strengths of each organization: MasterCard’s expertise in payments technology and FAO's global reach and track record in combating hunger and malnutrition.
The partners' first joint effort will be in the Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana County, Kenya, currently home to 170,000 refugees who have fled wars and violence in neighbouring countries. Camp residents will be provided with prepaid cards that will permit them to buy charcoal produced locally by the host community – charcoal that has been certified as being produced in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. The scheme is designed to improve incomes of Turkana residents, reduce social tensions between those residents and the refugees, and relieve pressure on the environment.
MasterCard will provide its technology expertise and a meaningful financial contribution to kick-start the business chain by providing 1,240 host-community households with improved charcoal making kilns and 7,000 refugee households with energy efficient stoves and credit to purchase 25 percent of their annual charcoal needs.