Amret Microfinance Institution Plc and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) have teamed up to use digital technology to empower rural farmers.
Together they rolled out on Monday the Agriculture Market Mobile App – known as the CAMAgriMarket app – which will bring farmers, buyers, sellers and all other stakeholders together on a common digital platform to better promote agri-business and make agriculture a more sustainable and lucrative sector.
Meach Yady, the head of the Agricultural Marketing Office at MAFF, and Alan Wee, the chief commercial officer of Amret Microfinance Institution Plc, share their views on their partnership.
Please explain more about the CAMAgriMarket.
Meach Yady: The CAMAgriMarket is an innovative platform to promote agricultural business between local farmers and buyers and sellers. The CAMAgriMarket app can be downloaded easily for free. Available on both IOS and Android, it can be downloaded from the Apple Store and the Google Play Store.
MAFF initiated the development of the app with financial support from the Korea Agency of Education, Promotion and Information Service in Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Why was the CAMAgri-Market app developed?
Meach Yady: Due to the explosive growth of smartphone and internet use in Cambodia in recent years, it is timely for the ministry to have developed the CAMAgriMarket mobile app, which serves to promote quick and easy access to agricultural market information by farmers, traders and other stakeholders involved in the agricultural supply chain.
This information will enable users of the app to source buyers and sellers for products, optimise prices and build valuable networks of contacts through their smartphones.
The CAMAgriMarket app is a wide-ranging tool for facilitating trade, making it easy for buyers and sellers to come together by providing their details.
It also provides the prices of a host of agricultural products – such as poultry, fish, fruits, cereals, meats, fertilisers, pesticides and processed agricultural products and other items such as farming tools.
How does MAFF collect the latest information on the pricing of agricultural products?
Meach Yady: The Agricultural Marketing Office has adedicated team based at MAFF in Phnom Penh and across all the provinces.
They collect information on wholesale agricultural prices three times a week and data on retail agricultural prices once a week from 30 major markets and other collection points across the Kingdom.
This data is then collated, evaluated and uploaded on the Agricultural Market Information Service website – amis.org.kh – and the CAMAgriMarket app.
How did this strategic partnership between Amret and MAFF start?
Alan wee: Amret has conducted various financial literacy training programmes for micro- and small-scale farmers in rural areas, along with working with MAFF on the agricultural capacity development training that serves to improve farmers’ productivity.
In the past two years, both Amret and MAFF have successfully co-trained around 4,000 micro farmers, and this has improved their livelihoods and living standards.
Both Amret and MAFF have been working closely and strategically together over the years, and when this opportunity came about, we approached MAFF to be the exclusive financial partner to develop the CAMAgriMarket app.
Meach Yady: We gladly accepted Amret’s proposition to be our exclusive strategic financial partner promoting the CAMAgriMarket app as this collaboration made perfect sense. It meant we continued our work together to add value to the agricultural community. Amret and MAFF have developed a strong working relationship over the years.
How will Amret promote the app, and data dissemination, registration and usage, among the agricultural community?
Alan wee: Both Amret and MAFF share a common vision and the obligation to help empower the Kingdom’s farming communities with the financial and non-financial services needed to improve their livelihoods and household incomes through better productivity.
The CAMAgriMarket app is a great portal to serve the agricultural sector, and we believe this has a huge potential to benefit the agricultural community nationwide.
Amret’s client base includes micro farmers as well as low-income individuals in small and medium-sized agricultural businesses. These micro farmers need access to information about the prices of commodities and the buyers for their products.
Amret will promote the app to all our clients involved in agriculture – both new customers and our 500,000 existing clients.
As a financial institution, Amret will work closely with MAFF to identify and then provide financial solutions to the applicants registered with the app community who qualify.
Both parties are committed to improving the app going forward by exploring the addition of features – such as a payment gateway and details on transport logistics – to make the app even more comprehensive and appealing to all across the agricultural community.
Amret serves more than 500,000 clients – ranging from low-income farmers to SMEs – for both loan and deposit products. Amret has 158 branches across 25 cities and provinces nationwide, employing more than 4,500 personnel. Amret has assets of more than $1 billion and deposits exceeding $500 million. Amret is a subsidiary of the Advans Group, a leading international microfinance group providing financial services to low-income segments and SMEs that are underserved or unbanked. FMO and IFC are two other shareholders with over $1 billion in assets.