At the close of 2021, agrifinance company Tingo had approximately 9.3 million subscribers using their cell phones and the Nwassa payment platform (www.nwassa.com).
Nwassa is Africa‘s leading digital agricultural ecosystem that empowers rural farmers and agribusinesses by using proprietary technology to enable access to the markets in which they operate.
Agricultural products can be shipped from farms across Africa to anywhere in the world, in both retail and wholesale quantities.
Nwassa’s payment system also has an escrow structure that builds trust between buyers and sellers.
Its system provides real-time prices directly from the farms, eliminating middlemen.
According to the company itself, customers of Nwassa users pay for the products purchased using the prices available on its platform.
While the company’s platform is paperless, verified and matched against a smart contract, data is efficiently stored on the blockchain.
In Nigeria, Tingo competes with a number of mobile operators.
Tingo’s existing competitors, such as MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9 Mobile, which are the four largest mobile networks in that nation, may seek to step up their investments in those markets and also expand their businesses into new markets.
Tingo offers an end-to-end platform service through the use of “device-as-a-service” smartphones (using GSM technology) to power a marketplace that enables subscribers/farmers within and outside the agricultural sector to manage their business activities of growing and selling their produce to market participants both domestically and internationally.
The ecosystem offers a “one-stop-shop” solution that allows these subscribers to manage everything from time-of-use top-ups, utility bill payment services and other service providers, access to insurance services and microfinance to support their value chain from “seed to sale”.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, increasing demand and supply chain disruption had led to higher prices for agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, which in turn limited farmers’ ability to preserve agricultural production margins, especially for smallholder farmers.
For example, phosphate prices had increased by approximately 139% from February 2020 to the end of 2021, while nitrogen had increased by more than 80% during that period.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces in February 2022 has exacerbated inflationary pressure on these inputs, especially as Russia accounts for 13% of global potash, phosphate and nitrogen production and has been subject to extensive sanctions by Western governments and the global financial system.