Over 2,000 oil palm farmers in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states now have access to digitized financial services, thanks to a partnership between Releaf (www.Releaf.africa), a raw material procurement & logistics platform that is making it easy for crops to move from farm to factory, and OnePipe (https://OnePipe.com), a digital gateway enabling financial services.
Over 65 percent of Nigerians are outside the financial services envelope, with millions unbanked or under-banked. The combination of COVID-19 disruptions and the widening digital divide in the rural and underserved areas has threatened the attainment of financial inclusion targets in Nigeria. This partnership between Releaf and OnePipe is thus a welcome initiative to the National Financial Inclusion Strategy and provides opportunities for thousands of rural farmers across Nigeria’s South-South region.
Speaking on the collaboration, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Releaf, Uzoma Ayogu, said; “Since inception, Releaf has empowered over 1,000 farmers to supply over 10 million kilograms of quality crops to various food factories. While disbursements to our farmers have been largely cash-based, we now have access to digitized fund disbursement via embedded, customised accounts, provisioned by OnePipe, to drive financial inclusion of previously financially excluded farmers in the digital economy. As a result, we can provide increased funding to farmers in a more seamless, scalable, and safe manner. We are also exploring other products like insurance and other services leveraging OnePipe’s infrastructure and strategic partnerships with an array of Financial Institutions.
The embedded customised accounts for the farmers are provisioned leveraging OnePipe’s partner bank APIs. They are opened and operated via USSD and *PWA (Progressive Web App) channels and branded as Releaf Wallet for ease of adoption by the farmers. As full-utility accounts, farmers can receive inflow from any bank/channel and can transfer funds to any Nigerian bank account; they can also access readily available services such as airtime top-up (self and third party), savings/investments and various loan options. The loan options are configured such that consistent usage of the Releaf wallet by the farmers results in a correspondingly increasing credit line.
OnePipe’s Founder and Chief Plumber, Ope Adeoye described the partnership with Releaf as “an exciting opportunity to co-create value with Releaf. Releaf is reviving agricultural infrastructure and crafting a sustainable path to prosperity for farmers who previously did not have commensurate return for their labour”. According to him, “working with Releaf was inevitable as the company’s vision to transform Africa’s agricultural future by making decentralized food processing scaleable coincides with OnePipe’s social mandate to drive financial inclusion through technology for all – including the 700M+ smallholder farmers on the continent.”
OnePipe’s platform provides a single gateway that aggregates financial services from industry leaders and combines them in unique ways to create new brand propositions that help organisations reduce time to market by embedding financial services within their products. OnePipe is at the vanguard of the embedded finance movement in Sub-Saharan Africa and has assisted companies like Releaf to provide seamless digital financial services to their partners. In addition to the ongoing partnership with Releaf, OnePipe is also working with key players in the Retail, FMCG and Asset Management space to facilitate embedded finance within their existing offerings.