Harnessing cross-border payment solutions to revolutionise agricultural trade in Uganda

By Sophie Proctor, April 5, 2023 · 9 mins read

As the lifeblood of Uganda's economy, agriculture plays a pivotal role in the nation's financial landscape, accounting for a substantial portion of its GDP and employing over 80% of the population. Despite the sector's immense potential, it grapples with a myriad of challenges, such as inadequate infrastructure, restricted access to finance, and limited entry into international markets. 

Cross-Border Payment Challenges in Uganda's Agricultural Trade Sector

While cross-border payment platforms present promising opportunities for Uganda's agricultural trade sector, several challenges must be addressed to fully leverage their potential. The following are key obstacles that currently hinder the effective implementation of cross-border payment platforms in the country:

  1. Regulatory hurdles: Financial regulations and compliance requirements can create barriers to the seamless integration of cross-border payment platforms. In Uganda, navigating the complex web of national and international regulations poses a challenge for both the platform providers and users, potentially resulting in delayed or blocked transactions.

  2. Currency volatility: Uganda's currency, the Ugandan Shilling (UGX), is susceptible to fluctuations in value due to various factors, including inflation, interest rates, and economic instability. Such volatility can complicate cross-border transactions and deter potential investors, as it introduces an element of uncertainty into financial operations.

  3. Financial literacy: The effective use of cross-border payment platforms necessitates a certain degree of financial literacy among farmers and agribusinesses. Unfortunately, many individuals in Uganda's agricultural sector lack the requisite knowledge and skills to navigate these platforms confidently, impeding the widespread adoption of these potentially transformative tools.

  4. Technological constraints: A reliable technological infrastructure is essential for the successful implementation of cross-border payment platforms. However, Uganda faces challenges in this regard, such as limited internet connectivity and inadequate access to digital devices, particularly in rural areas. This digital divide hinders the integration of these platforms into the agricultural value chain.

  5. Security concerns: Cybersecurity threats and fraud risks are perennial concerns for any financial platform, including cross-border payment systems. To establish trust in these platforms, both providers and users must invest in robust security measures to protect sensitive financial information and ensure transactional integrity.

Addressing these challenges requires a collaborative effort from various stakeholders, including the government, platform providers, and the agricultural community. By streamlining regulations, improving financial literacy, investing in technological infrastructure, and enhancing security measures, Uganda can lay the groundwork for a thriving agricultural trade sector powered by cross-border payment platforms.

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Unlock the solution to improved agricultural trade

A promising solution to these obstacles lies in the utilisation of cross-border payment platforms tailored to the requirements of farmers, agribusinesses, and other stakeholders along the agricultural value chain. These platforms can expedite cross-border trade and payments, streamlining the process for Ugandan farmers to tap into global markets and receive remuneration for their produce.

Outlined below are some key advantages that cross-border payment platforms could confer upon Uganda's agricultural sector: 

  1. Expanding financial access: By enabling swift, secure cross-border transactions, these platforms can offer farmers and agribusinesses previously inaccessible financing opportunities. Consequently, lenders and investors may be more inclined to support agricultural endeavours in Uganda.

  2. Stimulating cross-border commerce: Cross-border payment platforms can also foster international trade, thereby easing Ugandan farmers' entry into global markets. By facilitating secure and efficient transactions, these platforms can minimise the risk of fraud and other payment-related complications, ensuring farmers receive prompt payment for their goods.

  3. Enhancing efficiency: The implementation of cross-border payment platforms can bolster the efficiency of Uganda's agricultural value chain. As farmers receive payments rapidly and securely, they can better manage cash flow, invest in their enterprises, purchase essential inputs, and compensate their workforce. This increased liquidity ultimately leads to heightened productivity and greater yields.

  4. Fostering transparency: Cross-border payment platforms can augment transparency within the agricultural value chain by granting farmers increased visibility into the pricing of their products and input costs. Armed with this information, farmers can make well-informed decisions regarding crop cultivation and optimal selling periods. 

How Verto can help Uganda’s agricultural trade 

By leveraging Verto's innovative services, agricultural trade businesses in Uganda can overcome traditional barriers and maximise their potential in the global market. Verto's key offerings include: 

Verto Collect: 

Verto Collect enables businesses to accept payments in multiple currencies through a network of local bank accounts. By utilising this service, Ugandan agricultural trade businesses can receive payments from international buyers in the buyer's local currency, significantly simplifying the transaction process and minimising currency conversion fees. Uganda is among the top coffee-producing countries in Africa, and with Verto’s Collect solutions, coffee exporters can receive payments from international buyers in multiple currencies through a network of local bank accounts, for a simpler payment process. This helps coffee exporters tap into new markets and foster lasting relationships with international partners. 

Verto Convert: 

Currency fluctuations can pose a significant challenge for agricultural trade businesses in Uganda. Verto Convert addresses this issue by providing competitive exchange rates and transparent pricing, allowing businesses to exchange currencies with minimal fees. Cotton is an important export commodity in Uganda. Verto’s Convert solutions address the currency fluctuation challenge faced by cotton producers by providing competitive exchange rates and transparent pricing. By allowing cotton producers to mitigate currency risk and streamline financial operations, Verto Convert empowers them to focus on their core operations and effectively navigate the global market.

Verto Pay: 

Verto Pay streamlines the process of making international payments by offering an efficient and cost-effective solution. Ugandan agricultural trade businesses, like global tea trade businesses, can use Verto Pay to streamline the process of making international payments, enabling Ugandan tea traders to transfer funds to suppliers, vendors, and other stakeholders across the globe efficiently and cost-effectively. Timely payments and strong business relationships are critical in the tea trade, and Verto’s transparent fee structure and tracking capabilities provide businesses with increased visibility and control over their cross-border transactions. 

By integrating Verto's suite of payment solutions, agricultural trade businesses in Uganda can address the challenges associated with cross-border transactions and unlock new opportunities in the global market. Together, our solutions can revolutionise the way Ugandan agricultural trade businesses engage with the global market, driving growth and development for the sector as a whole. 

Next steps

In summary, Uganda's agricultural sector is beset by various challenges, including restricted access to finance, insufficient infrastructure, and limited exposure to international markets. Nevertheless, cross-border payment platforms hold the potential to mitigate these issues by promoting cross-border trade and payments, enhancing efficiency, and boosting transparency along the agricultural value chain. By capitalising on the merits of these platforms, Ugandan farmers and agribusinesses can unlock the full potential of this vital sector, fuelling the nation's economic growth and development. Get started with Verto today!