Agri e-commerce: Achieving scale through strategic partnerships

During our webinar in October 2019 – Collaborating for success in the agri e-commerce sector – we covered topics ranging from how agri e-commerce is formalising food value chains to considerations and challenges when choosing an agri e-commerce business model. In this final blog from the series we will explore how you can address gaps in infrastructure through strategic partnerships to enable you to realise the full benefits of e-commerce platforms in agri.

Partnerships are crucial for agri e-commerce providers as they enable platforms to offer the more integrated services being demanded by farmers. We have identified 4 key strategic groups that can help agri e-commerce platforms scale and achieve success:

Mobile money providers

Including MNOs, MM providers have a number of valuable assets that can help remove barriers to e-commerce and address the pain points of buyers and sellers. These include an extensive agent distribution network, an established customer base, reputable and trusted brand, local market knowledge, existing relationships with local banks and governments, and customer and transaction data to identify fraudulent transactions.

Financial institutions

Partnering with financial institutions can help provide longer term benefits through the creating of digital identities. Using transactional data from e-commerce platforms in addition to other mobile operator data financial institutions can assess the creditworthiness of farmers and provide additional financial products to them such as loans or insurance. In turn, access to financial services, such as credit products for agricultural asset financing, helps farmers improve their productivity and output whilst simultaneously giving them access to the integrated services they want.

Investors and donors

Playing different roles, donors and investors can help support e-commerce platforms develop and scale. Donors can play an important role in de-risking early investments to allow new models and products to be developed and tested. Once a platform can demonstrate a clear value proposition to overcome market challenges and can prove a viable growth strategy, investors can be brought on board to help scale and grow the platform.


Governments play a crucial role in that they help create a regulatory environment that can either help or hinder an e-commerce platform. Primarily they should create an enabling regulatory environment to drive the adoption of mobile money services among the financially excluded and introduce acceptable forms of simplified ‘Know Your Customer’ for accounts handling up to a certain amount of agricultural payment. Agricultural government agencies with established farmer relationships can help create awareness and support on-boarding and acquisition efforts by e-commerce businesses.


Interested in reading more about agri e-commerce? Find out more about how e-ecommerce is enabling financial inclusion for smallholder farmers through formalising value chains, read about considerations when choosing a business model or listen to the webinar.

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