Econet Wireless Zimbabwe yesterday launched the EcoFarmer Club, which offers farmers access to a bundle of services that include agricultural commodity prices, valuable farming tips, relevant local weather information and a mobile trading platform which links farmers to buyers.
Speaking at the launch of the EcoFarmer Club in Harare yesterday, Econet chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni, said the launch of the EcoFarmer Club in an agro-based economy demonstrated the company’s quest to offer relevant products and services that meet the needs of ordinary Zimbabweans where they are.
“We are excited to launch this service that will serve millions of farmers and consumers of farming services throughout our country,” Mr Mboweni said.
The company has led the digital and fintech revolution that has transformed the way Zimbabweans from all walks of life transact and do business through its integrated EcoCash mobile money platform.
Mr Mboweni said the EcoFarmer Club would come with a transactional personalised EcoFarmer Club Card, which entitles farmers to discounts on vital farming inputs and implements from approved suppliers. The card is linked to a bank account and can transact on ZimSwitch.
Farmers will also be able to link their bank account with their EcoCash wallet, thus enabling bank to wallet transactions, and vice versa. Mr Mboweni said his company’s aim was to create shared value by providing a platform to connect millions of farmers directly with buyers, as well as offering them the convenience to check market prices from municipal markets throughout the country, along with the ability to check current weather updates in their registered farming locations.
“Besides having a virtual ‘exchange’ where farmers directly connect to buyers of their produce, EcoFarmer Club members will be able to purchase farming inputs at a much lower cost and great convenience,” Mr Mboweni said.
He added that EcoFarmer Club members would have the convenience of being able to access farming inputs at selected outlets throughout the country.
“EcoFarmer Club members will be able to access seed, fertilisers, agrochemicals, stock feeds, animal health products, farming implements and inputs from selected agro-businesses — such as seed companies, fertiliser companies, poultry suppliers, as well as crop and livestock outlets — at special, discounted prices,” Mr King said.
The EcoFarmer Club card would also give farmers access to special farming events, over and above access to exclusive products, such as an exclusive Steward Health Farmers package, Mr King said.
He said the EcoFarmer service, which was originally introduced to the market in 2013, already boasted over one million registered customers on its platform.
The company’s Head of Agri-business Ms Caroline Mozhendi described the product in detail, saying that for existing, registered EcoFarmer customers to subscribe to the EcoFarmer Club, they needed to “subscribe” to the EcoFarmer Club, and enjoy all the benefits of the Club.
The mobile service provider described the new payment mode as a simple, secure and instant mobile payments solution for consumers and merchants and said it will go a longway in efforts to reduce cash usage and increase digital financial inclusion in Zimbabwe.
The Scan and Pay payments functionality is available to EcoCash’s five million active subscribers, and is already accepted at 3 800 retail locations and businesses in Zimbabwe.
The technology removes the need for consumers to carry cash or a physical wallet and frees both consumers and retailers from the costs, security risks and inconveniences associated with cash.
“One of the biggest opportunities to move Zimbabwe towards a cashless and financially inclusive society lies in leveraging something millions of Zimbabweans already hold in the palms of their hands — their mobile phones,” said Ms Natalie Jabangwe, EcoCash CEO.