Improving Africa's Agricultural Sector through Digital Identity Verification: Our Work with Thrive Agric
Africa is now the world's second-fastest-growing region after Asia, with annual GDP growth rates of over 5% over the last decade. One key component of inclusive development is financial inclusion, an area in which Africa has been lagging behind other continents. Less than one adult out of four in Africa has access to an account at a formal financial institution (AFDB, 2021)
One of the fastest-growing sectors in Africa is the agricultural sector. From time immemorial, Africans have always been notable as people with farming skills. Statistics state that there are about 33 million smallholder farms. The farmers who live on them contribute up to 70 percent of the food supply within Africa (International Fund for Agricultural Development). Although urbanization is increasing rapidly, agriculture still contributes 17 percent of Africa's total gross domestic product and accounts for 40 percent of its foreign currency. Overall, the African continent contains 626 million people, and 384 million — or 61 percent — are farmers.
Identification Challenge for Farmers in Africa
The World Bank's ID4D statistics published that nearly one billion people worldwide lack legally recognized identification. Another 3.4 billion people with one type of legally recognized identification face limitations in using it in the digital world.
Limited access to market, technology, and difficulty accessing funds are significant challenges small-scale farmers face in Africa. Still, the biggest challenge linking all of these is the issue of identification. Small farmers produce a wide range of foods, even higher than commercial farms. They need the required technological resources to expand their farms, grow more food and connect with locations outside. Until now, government and Agric-financing agencies/agritech are confronted with the high identification crisis experienced in rural areas.
Smallholder farmers in Nigeria have complicated livelihoods because they typically rely on income from various sources, such as government safety nets, subsidies, and off-farm enterprises. According to the African Green Revolution Forum, 48 million smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to formal credit. Most of their activities are in small and undocumented transactions — attributes that make it challenging to design affordable financial services, high-quality source inputs, and develop best practices in agronomy to meet their needs.
As most smallholders do not have a means of proving immutable identity or a financial footprint, it isn't easy to access the necessary information that allows agencies to evaluate their creditworthiness and design low-cost financing solutions. Thus, their lack of access, especially to financial products like loans, insurance, and data-driven practices, hugely affects their capacity for scale and chances of moving from subsistence farming to more mechanized and modern farming techniques.
About Thrive Agric
ThriveAgric began as an agricultural technology startup in 2017 in one state with less than 500 farmers, using crowdfunding to provide smallholder farmers with access to finance, premium markets, and data-driven advisory. Today, ThriveAgric has become a notable African Agritech startup in less than four years, with backing from Y Combinator — one of the world's most successful startup accelerators — in 2019.
Today, ThriveAgric is strengthening its brand, solidifying its industry leadership position, and demonstrating a more outstanding commitment to promoting food security in Africa by working with over 200,000 farmers across 20 Nigerian states using technology. ThriveAgric is currently building Africa's largest farmer network and empowering them by removing barriers to capital and financial services, data-driven best practices, and technology to improve yield and access to local and global markets for their produce.
Promoting Inclusion Through Identity Verification
Verifying and providing services to these farmers is primarily determined by data collection, which is prone to human execution error, unauthorized credential use, and the exclusion of individuals. Enabling these smallholder farmers to escape poverty requires creative innovations that solve critical identification challenges.
Many smallholder farmers in Africa struggle to access services and subsidies and seize new opportunities presented by innovations in mobile technologies, finance, and other fields, without official proof of identity. With the use of Identitypass's robust and digital means of identification, Thrive Agric is presently assisting smallholder farmers in formally registering to gain access to mobile, financial, and other services that would allow them to work, sell, and scale their businesses legally.
Identitypass verification solutions readily implement data sources, quality checks, and management for ThriveAgric's onboarding process. With digital KYC, farmers now enjoy the following:
- Seamless Onboarding: A registered farmer's identity can be accurately verified by Thrive Agric during onboarding using government-issued identifiers such as NIN. This is accomplished quickly by using the unique farmer's identifier to ensure they are who they claim to be. The process is quick and eliminates the stress that comes with a lot of paperwork, especially for farmers with little or no education.
- Individual Consent: Farmers consciously register for and use Thrive Agric's services while being aware of the personal data collected and how the company will use that data.
- Farmer's data Privacy Protection: Farmers' data privacy is protected because Identitypass allows Thrive Agric to automatically comply with NDPR policies relating to customer data privacy and protection. This prevents fraudsters from compromising or exploiting these farmers' data.
Overall, the digital KYC process allows ThriveAgric to securely and accurately verify farmers' identities to promote increased access to financial services, efficient supply-chain traceability, and food security in Africa.
Why choose Identitypass?
- Unmatched coverage for million of African identities, including markets in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, and South Africa
- We are promoting real-time customer onboarding with reliable online identity verification products.
- We are ensuring simplified compliance with international AML and KYC regulations.