Bayer supports innovative myAgro start-up with funding of more than USD 600,000 to assist smallholder farmers in West Africa


How can a smallholder farmer in Africa save money for much needed fertilizer and seed without a bank account or access to a loan? The answer is provided 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 USD 600,000 by Bayer, this important social innovation can now be extended.

"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," says Anushka Ratnayake, founder and CEO of the start-up. Thanks to 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 USD 150 to 300 per year.

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