Mobile application (also working on USSD for simple phones) that addresses 3 main issues:
- Access to financial resources
- Connection to Markets
- Access to relevant and actionable information
We give small holders farmers loans through a SACCO. Farmers apply for the loan filling up our production plan. Once the production plan is submitted for the first time, the farmer will get to know how much money she is entitle to borrow.
Farmers can choose to receive the entire loan in cash at 14% interest or they can opt for receiving part of the loan in virtual currency that can be exchanged at local store(s) for inputs (seed, chemicals, fertiliser) and basic commodities like cooking oil, salt, sugar, etc. at a lower rate of 12%
The loans are disbursed in installments, following the crop cycle. In order to receive the installments the farmer needs to submit regular updates to the submitted production plan and unlock the funds, which are sent using mobile money and SMS in case of the virtual currency.
Loans have a duration of 3 to 6 months.
On the other side we have established connections with food retailers and processors (We are currently supplying one of the 3 biggest supermarket chain in Nairobi). We know we need to deliver xxxx amount of certain crops to that company every year.The production plans submitted by the farmers that applied to our financial services give us a pretty clear indication about what we need to deliver.
We are now running a prototyping and testing phase to design our plans together with farmers and specifically for each of the crops (chains) we have already ensured markets for like strawberries, tree-tomatoes, passion fruit and red onions with the recent collaboration with Markit of Ashley King Birschof.
We are currently speaking with a retailer and try to convince them to experiment with a consumer membership subscription to fresh food. The idea is that with the monthly or yearly subscriptions the supermarket will spread the risk with its customers and be more willing to pay in advance our contracts meaning finance for our farmers.