Our North Star is to work with 1 million smallholder farmers (supporting 10 million family members) by 2025 to increase their income by $1.50 per farmer per day to move out of poverty.
While many microfinance institutions are reaching rural farming communities, most are focused largely on the provision of loans. But are loans always the best answer? The current system assumes that smallholder farmers are too poor to save. In fact, farmers would like to save, but live so far from banks that their savings payments would be dwarfed by the transport costs and bank fees.
“We’re not asking farmers to change their behavior to match an outdated financial system – we’re changing the system to match them.”
– Anushka Ratnayake, Founder and CEO
myAgro has pioneered an alternative system that matches how farmers already manage their money. Using a prepaid scratch card model — similar to buying prepaid mobile minutes -—farmers can pay in advance for fertilizer, seed and training packages by buying a myAgro card at their local village store (from 50 cents to $50), depositing their money into a layaway account by texting in the scratch-off code.
After a few months of buying the scratch cards and saving little by little, myAgro delivers the fertilizer, seed, and training they’ve paid for in time for planting time.Through this bank-less savings scheme, average harvests for myAgro farmer increase from 50% – 100% over traditional farms, and net farming income increases $150-$300 per farmer.
LONG TERM IMPACT
Year over year, myAgro expects to see the real income earned by farmers who plant with myAgro increase as they complete their savings goals, buy high-quality inputs and plant using better techniques.
In the long-term, myAgro envisions its model for change spurring structural shifts in two arenas: how governments and multilaterals fund the agricultural sector, and how the financial inclusion sector provides services to smallholder farmers. When myAgro can demonstrate the power of mobile layaway to serve farmers and the bottom of the pyramid, there will be a major disruption in traditional antipoverty strategies for the sector at large. When financing is self-directed from smallholder farmers themselves, it is, by definition, sustainable. The market will react to this unlocked capital by providing better and more useful services or products.
- Africa | West