Verve, UBA to aid Zambia’s subsidy scheme
Verve International has signed a partnership agreement with United Bank for Africa (UBA) to deliver cost effective prepaid cards to farmers under the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture’s FISP program.
As part of the partnership deal, UBA will issue Verve Prepaid cards in the next season of the Farmers Input Support Program (FISP), an agricultural subsidy initiative of the government to help farmers purchase agricultural inputs like fertilizer, seed and chemical at subsidized costs.
Through the programme, the government intends to boost food production in the country by funding the cards issued to each farmer with $170 while the farmers contribute $40 towards purchase of farm inputs.
While many farmers in the country have benefited from the program since it started in 2015, the government plans to extend it even further with more than one million farmers expected to receive over two hundred and ninety million dollars ($290M) in funding during the 2017/18 season.
In order to help the Government, combat the challenges of high cost of card issuance and transaction as well as the issue of accountability and transparency which have plagued the scheme for long, Verve has been contracted to provide its superior technology and affordable cards solution through Commercial Banks and other Financial Institutions in Zambia.
Sharing his thoughts on the partnership, Mike Ogbalu III, CEO, Verve International in a statement, said: “Partnering with UBA on the FISP program is a huge milestone for us. We are really excited to work with Smart Zambia, UBA and other banks, farmers, agro-dealers and other stakeholders to ensure that the subsidy programme runs efficiently and achieves its objective of boosting food production in Zambia. Food security is very crucial for every nation, as such, deploying Verve’s cost-effective prepaid card solution will help farmers in Zambia access the FISP subsidy quickly, conveniently and without hassle, thereby significantly improving agricultural activities and boosting food production in the country.”
The introduction of Verve cards is expected to reduce card issuance costs by 30%-50% while also saving significantly in transactional fees. With its improved security feature Verve will effectively solve the FISP transparency and accountability issues. The government will also be able to access all the information it needs to ensure a smooth and seamless operation of the scheme and also eliminate leakages.
Besides saving cost and ensuring greater transparency, Verve’s involvement in the FISP program also means more farmers can benefit from the subsidies, as costs would be greatly reduced, thereby leading to a significant boost in food production in the South African country.
Through this partnership, Zambia joins a growing list of African countries where Verve’s EMV compliant cards is used and accepted.