• Introduction
    • OVERVIEW
    • THE STANDARD BANK GROUP
    • OUR REPORTING SUITE
    • OUR SEE JOURNEY
    • ASSURANCE STATEMENT
     
     
     
     
     
  • SEE impact areas
    • OVERVIEW
    • 1.
      FINANCIAL INCLUSION
    • 2.
      JOB CREATION AND ENTERPRISE GROWTH
    • 3.
      INFRASTRUCTURE
    • 4.
      AFRICA TRADE AND INVESTMENT
    • 5.
      Climate change and sustainable finance
    • 6.
      EDUCATION
    • 7.
      HEALTH
     
  • ESG
    • OVERVIEW
    • OUR REPORTING SUITE
    • MESSAGE FROM SIM TSHABALALA
    • ESG GOVERNANCE
    • MATERIAL ISSUES DURING THE REPORTING PERIOD
    • ENGAGING OUR STAKEHOLDERS
    • HOW WE DO BUSINESS
    • MANAGING OUR ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL RISKS
    • SUSTAINABLE FINANCE
    • OUR PEOPLE
    • CORPORATE SOCIAL INVESTMENT
    • ESG METRICS,  POLICIES AND REPORTS
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  • Transformation
    • OVERVIEW
    • INTRODUCTION
    • A MESSAGE FROM LUNGISA FUZILE
    • THE ROLE OF A BANK IN GROWING THE ECONOMY
    • STANDARD BANK’S BEE SCORECARD 2019
    • WHERE TO FIND MORE INFORMATION
    • B-BBEE CERTIFICATE
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  • Downloads
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Technological solutions for small-scale farmers to improve productivity and access to finance

Agriculture is a major productive sector in African economies and the main contributor to pro-poor growth and poverty reduction, especially in rural areas. The sector is largely subsistence-based. It faces major stresses and shocks caused by environmental degradation and climate change. It is also a major contributor to climate change. Standard Bank aims to work with our clients to increase the profitability and sustainability of Africa’s small-scale farmers, while improving Africa’s food security.

Challenges facing these farmers include lack of funding for the sector, which tends to be informal and fragmented; poor infrastructure; pricing; lack of information; and sale of fake inputs, including fake seeds and fertiliser. Large corporate buyers of agricultural product face uncertainty about the volumes of specific commodities that will be available at harvest, and the risks associated with the application of sub-optimal agricultural processes. Emerging technologies can play a crucial role in helping farmers to manage their costs, improve productivity, and access markets. We are working with our small-scale farming clients to help them make the most of such technologies.

In Uganda, we’re piloting the OneFarm Agri Platform, working with farmers and cooperatives to help them ensure a successful and profitable maize crop. Five cooperatives, 350 farmers, a maize aggregator and a local tech start-up have partnered with us for the pilot. The farms have been GPS-mapped and validated by satellite. Standard Bank has allocated a credit risk limit to each farmer, based on their verified farm size. Sixteen local agents, chosen from the various cooperatives, have received training and smartphones, and are employed to do farmer profiling, manage input distribution and support the farmers. The bank has financed high quality seed and fertilizer, and access to tractor time, for distribution to the farmers. The team has also employed an agronomist to provide training on best practices to the farmers and manage demo farms. We’ve developed monitoring dashboards for each farm, integrating the satellite data. These dashboards ensure potential threats, such as pests and disease, can be detected at an early stage, enabling a quick response and maximising the proportion of the crop that can be successfully harvested. The bank is also working with the farmers to help them access markets/off-takers for their crops, ensuring that they receive a fair price for their produce. Early indications show that the increased access to working capital has enabled farmers to plant additional fields, while access to tractor time has made it easier to cultivate the larger area. Farmers have increased their capacity significantly as a result of this initiative.

Partnership with UN Women to improve women farmers’ productivity through climate smart agriculture

We are working with UN Women on a programme to empower women by enhancing agricultural productivity and income, through climate smart agriculture – farming methods and commodities that are resilient to climate change. Standard Bank has pledged USD3 million over two years.

The programme is running in Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. It includes a focus on improved weather forecasting, early warning systems, and insurance to help farmers reduce risk.

The programme is being run in partnership with local farmer associations and cooperatives, relevant UN agencies and international aid agencies, national and local governments, local private sector partners and NGOs. The aim is to reach over 50 000 women across the four countries over three years, providing them with entrepreneurial and financial capacities, affordable technology and value addition, and using ICT to increase access to markets and to finance.

Focus areas include:

Increasing women’s secure land tenure
Increasing women small holders’ productivity in a changing climate and reducing the physical burden of agricultural work
Removing financing barriers and increasing women’s capacity to invest in climate-resilient agriculture
Promoting opportunities for women small holders to move up the value chain
  • In Uganda, we launched the programme in May 2019, with 700 women participants. Standard Bank’s USD300 000 (R4.6 million) sponsorship will be invested in fish farming/aquaculture in the Bugiri District. We are also aiming to develop specific banking products that meet the needs of women-owned startup businesses.
Quote
William le Roux
CE, STANBIC MALAWI
We are happy to know that by using the climate smart approach to farming, a sustainable way has been found to increase productivity and incomes while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a contributor to global warming and attendant climate change. The modern interventions toward farming among women is a huge paradigm shift in line with global commitments to eradicate poverty.
Services tailored for small enterprises

Some of the other ways we are making life easier for small businesses include:

  • SimplyBlu – an online business in a few clicks: While online sales potentially offer access to new markets and revenue streams for small businesses, the cost of setting up an online trading platform can be prohibitive. Costs range from design, security and financial compliance to setting up an integrated invoicing and accounting platform. Simply Blu, our new and innovative all-in-one payment solution enables businesses to start and manage a customisable online business from a single, secure platform. With an easy to use mobile app, the business owner can set up their store, issue e-invoices and securely accept digital payments. The app requires no development skills or knowledge of coding. It’s also cost effective. Businesses can start trading on the Internet for a R500 once-off set up fee, and a monthly R575 subscription fee. All card payments are 3D secure authenticated and PCI DSS compliant. Applicants can apply and submit their documents online. SimplyBlu is the first service of its type to be offered to small businesses by a financial institution in South Africa.
  • Access to corporate supply chains: In South Africa, we offer an enterprise and supplier development (ESD) funding solution to our corporate clients, to help minimise the risk associated with bringing new small businesses into their supply chains. We provide financial support to black-owned small businesses to enable them to access corporate supply chains, and developmental support to help address any challenges they may experience. When certain conditions are met, we also offer loans to SMEs who have secured a contract with a Standard Bank corporate client. We charge tiered interest rates, to lower barriers to entry for new suppliers.
  • We are looking at ways to improve women entrepreneurs’ access to affordable lending solutions. Stanbic Bank Zambia has secured a 200 million Kwacha (USD15 million) loan from the IFC, to expand its lending to SMEs. At least 25% of the loan is earmarked for women-owned businesses.
Kenny Fihla
Quote
Leina Gabaraane
CE, STANBIC BANK ZAMBIA
The funding from IFC fits with our SME strategy, which leverages our corporate banking ecosystem to identify new SMEs for funding. By 2022, we plan to quadruple the number of women-owned SME borrowers from 50 to about 200.