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Thursday, 12 July 2018

Bayer supports myAgro start-up to help smallholder farmers in West Africa

LEVERKUSEN, US: Smallholder farmer in Africa can now save money for much-needed fertilizer and seed without a bank account or access to a loan, through pilot projects in Mali and Senegal by the start-up company myAgro.
Mobile phones are widely used in rural areas of Africa and easy to use. The model works in a similar way as a pre-paid card for cellphones. As soon as a farmer has a little money left over, they can buy a myAgro scratch card that has an associated code at the back of the card, which is being sent to their myAgro account through SMS.
The farmers – up to 70 percent women by the way – can pay in even the smallest amounts, for example, one US dollar. Well in time for the start of the planting season, myAgro delivers high-quality seed and fertilizer to the farmers in their village. Thanks to the donation of $ 600,000 by Bayer AG, this important social innovation can now be extended. 

Increased prosperity for smallholder farmers
“Through our model, we are changing access to the financial system in a way that suits smallholder farmers. That’s because their needs often are not compatible with conventional capital flows. In this way we help them to achieve increased prosperity,” said Anushka Ratnayake, founder and CEO of the start-up. With the myAgro’s savings program, high-quality products and on-time delivery, small farms that are usually cultivated by the families themselves increase their yields by 50 to 100 percent on average and raise their net farming income by about $150 to 300 per year.

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