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

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

7:22 AM, 25th January 2018
Bayer supports myAgro start-up to help smallholder farmers in West Africa
Small amounts of money are saved by farmers via mobile phones in the form of myAgro scratch cards and exchanged for high-quality seed and fertilizer.

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.

Fighting worm infections

In addition to expanding the pre-paid model, Bayer and myAgro also want to fight a key cause of poverty: many families in rural regions are affected by epidemic worm infections, which affect children particularly hard and hinder their development. The medicines are expensive and are frequently unaffordable for the farmers. Bayer and myAgro, therefore, support a worm control initiative that will provide free medication to smallholder farmer’s children, which will help strengthen families so that they can further develop their farms and escape poverty.

“Food from smallholder farmers feed a large segment of the world’s population. Yet many of these farmers live in severe poverty. That’s why we support myAgro, which can make a big difference with its innovative social business model and has the potential to enable a better life for more than 50,000 smallholder farmers, their families and the communities they help feed,” said Liam Condon, member of the board of management of Bayer AG and head of the crop science division.

Social innovations improve living conditions in the long-term 

Bayer supports innovative ideas and business models that help to improve living conditions in developing countries through the Aspirin Social Award, the alliance with the Global Impact Accelerator of the start-up fair Slush, as well as through targeted partnerships. “Social innovation is part of our holistic approach to innovation,” explained Dr Monika Lessl, head of corporate innovation & r&d at Bayer AG and initiator of the collaboration. By collaborating with social entrepreneurs, we strive to reshape global systems and catalyze future advancements in health and nutrition.”

© Chemical Today News



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