ETHIOPIA – The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Institute (ATI) has inked an agreement with Kifiya Financial Technology PLC to launch the eVoucher 2.0 system in a bid to bolster digital distribution of agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers in 50 Woredas.

The electronic Input Voucher System (IVS) system seeks to enhance smallholder farmers’ easier access to credit and transaction of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and improved seeds.

This innovation is a key component of Kifiya’s broader commitment to strengthening the agricultural value chain and building a rural financial infrastructure that connects smallholder farmers with essential financial services and markets.

The system was introduced to address the shortcomings of the current input distribution system, which limits smallholder farmers’ access to credit, by connecting smallholder farmers with microfinance institutions and cooperatives

According to partners, upgrading from the manual IVS aims to minimize the risk of fraud and human error as well as increase efficiency for users of the system.

The system is set to digitize agricultural transactions improving supply chain transparency and facilitating end-to-end traceability.

The system automates the enrollment of farmers and manages the issuance and redemption of inputs. Additionally, it enhances efficiency through automated reconciliation and loan collection and generates comprehensive reports, offering insights into the entire distribution cycle.

The agreement was sealed by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two parties, committing to develop the eVoucher 2.0 system, which accommodates the enrolment, issuance, redemption, reconciliation, loan collection, and reporting processes of an overall IVS system.

This move comes after the recent National Soybean Market Linkage forum hosted by the ATI in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture aimed to strengthen the economic sustainability of soybean smallholder farmers.

The forum brought together representatives from farmer cooperative unions, the edible oil processors industry association, the industrial input supply enterprise, the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, and the Development Bank of Ethiopia to discuss challenges and forward possible interventions.

According to stakeholders, though immense effort has been made to enhance production, the market linkage has not received enough attention before, and there has been limited engagement in creating sustainable partnerships among smallholder farmers, agro-processors, and exporters

The forum finalized with signing a sales contract agreement between smallholder farmers/cooperatives, and processors for purchasing this year’s production crop and fostering future partnerships.