The role of digital payments in sustainable agriculture and food security
This report (PDF) by Better Than Cash Alliance and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), examines how shifting to digital payments can provide powerful solutions to help countries improve agricultural productivity and ensure food security, bringing higher incomes and greater financial inclusion. The findings show that expanding digital payments and building responsible digital payments ecosystems are fundamental to creating a sustainable agricultural sector and addressing poverty and hunger. Additionally, digital payments can help to address the wide gender gap in agricultural opportunities and outcomes. Investing in agricultural productivity and capacity by enabling more digital payments is likely to have outsized returns. The disadvantages of cash are magnified for people in rural and remote communities. However, digital payments have been slow to catch on with smallholder farmers. In order to replace cash, digital payments must offer a greater value proposition and operate within a far broader digital payments ecosystem. The report identifies priority actions for different stakeholders. Governments should encourage adoption of digital payments by incorporating training on their benefits and use into existing channels for agricultural education. Agribusinesses should analyze the business case for digitizing aspects of the value chain, including bulk payments to farmers and supplier credit. Payment providers, governments, and aid organizations should work together to identify existing food aid, social transfers, and subsidies that benefit smallholder farmers and could be made more efficient through digitization.