Kampala. Small holder farmers have failed to access credit and other financial products such as insurance, because banks lack access to their background data.
Speaking at a brainstorming meeting organised by Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, UN Capital Development Fund and Laboremus Uganda in Kampala, experts said one of the key ingredients to extending financial services is collection of personal data on individuals.
The data, they said, is especially important among farmers’ circles, who lack capacity to do proper records keeping.
Mr Robert Kintu, the FIT Insights managing director, said: “We need to find innovative ways to collect farmers’ data to unlock their access to credit.”
Data collection, he said, is an expensive investment, therefore, stakeholders need to collaborate through pooling resources for better results.
“[We can] look at the standards on how data can be collected in a uniform way to support financial institutions,” Mr Kintu added, challenging government ministries such as Agriculture and ICT to find ways through which they can integrate data collection among smallholders groups.
Mr Bram Van Den Bosch, the Laboremus managing director, challenged agencies such as National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) to make their database accessible to banks and other financial stakeholders for them to build products that are relevant.
NIRA currently has a database that has details of about 30 million Ugandans.
The meeting also discussed ongoing efforts through which a data hub - Smallholder Families Data - a portal that provides resources for stakeholders interested in developing financial products and services, had been built. The hub focuses on smallholder farmers with a targeted reach of more than 300,000 data points.
Mr Nathan Were, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor smallholder finance lead, indicated that “the tool will help to identify new opportunities to serve the diverse market whose financial lives are often less understood”.
Reach: By using data, risks to financial service providers can considerably be reduced, which can accelerate their reach in rural areas. Such data also needs to be analysed for financial institution to properly understand their clients.