Rural roll-out

by Mark Rowe

A biometric roll-out in Zambia allowed the distribution of 22 million dollars in subsidies in rural Zambia within three months.

Since November 2017, the scheme has allowed registered farmers to access the government-funded FISP subsidy. Farmers make a co-payment of ZMK 400 (equivalent to 40 US dollars) and the Ministry of Agriculture provides an additional ZMK 1600 (equivalent to USD 160) to reach a total of ZMK 2000 (equivalent to USD 200). At enrolment, an agent of the scheme captures the farmers’ fingerprints and associates them with their ID for authentication. Later, farmers are issued with an FISP (Farmer Input Support Program) electronic wallet to be used at approved agro-dealers that have Ingenico Group biometric smart terminals. During the transaction, they can use their fingerprint for authentication. The previously unbanked users can now access agricultural material subsidies in 30 Zambian districts.

In areas lacking widespread financial infrastructure, the Zambian government has been able to bring banking and funding to farmers in rural regions.

Ingenico Group, with its long-term partner, the payments company Paycode, worked with the Ministry of Agriculture on product design and launch. Gabe Ruhan, Director of Paycode Zambia, said: “We are proud to have served the Ministry of Agriculture by providing world-class technology that works in the remotest environments. We look forward to expanding our solution so every Zambian can have their money at their fingertips.”

And Francois Voyron, Middle East and Africa Managing Director at Ingenico Group, said: “This solution demonstrates our ability to support governments in deploying innovative subsidy programs rapidly, successfully and in remote regions. As a matter of fact within three months, 91 per cent of eligible farmers have already purchased materials using the new solution.” Visit

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