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Insights drive uptake of financial products by smallholder farmers

Digital credit products represent an important financial inclusion opportunity for smallholder farmers in Kenya and Rwanda.

In Kenya, the agricultural sector employs more than 40% of the population and more than 70% of Kenya's rural people. In Rwanda, agriculture is the main economic activity with 70% of the population engaged in the sector, and around 72% of the working population employed in agriculture.

Understanding this, the Kenya Commercial Bank, in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, launched the MobiGrow programme, targeting agricultural value chain actors to offer mobile-based financial inclusion and information to smallholder farmers and pastoralists in Kenya and Rwanda

Genesis Analytics was contracted by KCB to undertake an impact evaluation of the MobiGrow product. The purpose of the impact evaluation was to rigorously measure the impact and change to the lives of target smallholder farmers (crop and/or pastoralists) in Kenya and Rwanda.

However, the programme experienced low uptake and use of mobile savings and loans products, which would negatively affect the quality of impact evaluation. There was a need to improve product uptake and use, to improve the quality of the impact evaluation being conducted while also driving the commercial success of the platform. The ABE team was brought into the evaluation to help increase uptake and use of the platform using behavioral principles.

Interviews with staff, farmer organisations, and farmers who used the MobiGrow platform to varying degrees revealed that farmers and cooperatives saw great benefit to the programme, but were not necessarily familiar with how to take advantage of the benefits.

Behavioural economic insights and interventions played an important role in picking up this unrealised value in two ways: first, the insights were an innovative differentiating factor for MobiGrow in a crowded market; second, they would help to accelerate the growth of the programme while addressing the issue of low conversion rates. The evaluation team proposed a range of behavioral economic pilot solutions, using internal programme data and rigorous A/B testing methodology, which were aimed at improving the quality of the onboarding process.

Genesis outlined six behavioural considerations for the Mobigrow customer journey: salience and memorability, trust and memorability, and ease of access and scarcity, which were key to the programme’s turnaround. The human-centered approach to problem solving ensured that all parts of the customer journey were interrogated to identify key pain points and provide recommendations to KCB.

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