AB InBev Africa and BanQu are using blockchain to uplift smallholder farmers in AB InBev’s supply chain.

The partnership aims to expand financial inclusion and empower more people across the continent. It also gives AB InBev better line of sight when it comes to its supply chain, helping it intervene to make sure that farmers also have the resources they need.

US-based fintech BanQu has developed what it believes to be the world’s first non-cryptocurrency blockchain platform designed to provide an economic identity for people around the world, especially for those working at the tail end of supply chains and who are economically disconnected.

The technology enables farmers in the AB InBev value chain to have line of sight of their barley, sorghum and cassava sales, and receive cash through a mobile money solution.

Since the second implementation was unveiled earlier this year in Uganda, through Nile Breweries, 1200 farmers have signed up on the BanQu blockchain platform. These farmers now have access to full accounting information, such as sales price, volume sold, and payment. This information is made available via SMS.

They also have records that they can take to the bank, allowing them access to credit and form a verifiable economic identity.

Farmers now have access to an immutable digital record of their financial transactions, through BanQu’s signature Dignity Through Identity solution.

Another benefit to AB InBev’s smallholder farmers is the integration of mobile money, allowing them to store money, pay bills or send remittances online directly through the free, secure platform.

AB InBev’s Solutions Africa director of innovation and analytics, Sameer Jooma, explains that BanQu’s solution can be applied to almost any industry. “Most people have a rudimentary understanding of Blockchain because it is the platform that enables Bitcoin transactions. What BanQu has done, as the world’s first company to offer this solution, is to take this technology and expand it beyond cryptocurrency. After all, what is being moved is information, because even money can be distilled down to data now.”

BanQu co-founder and CEO, Ashish Gadnis, adds: “Through developing the world’s first and only non-cryptocurrency Blockchain platform, BanQu connects people to global supply chains, enabling them to do business with brands, organisations and governments.

“Almost 2,7-billion people across the globe don’t have access to credit or other banking services, because they don’t have what we call an economic identity – the data record of their financial position. BanQu seeks to solve this dilemma by providing auditable financial records, which are bankable, allowing more people to participate in the global economy.”

The partnership also gives AB InBev Africa better visibility of farmers in the supply chain, with the ability to how much, and when, a farmer was paid, as well as track produce from the farm to the brewery through geo-location tags.

AB InBev Africa can also connect with farmers to ensure that they receive the training and resources they need.