3rd, not bad hey!
In my last post I spoke about the use of technology in agriculture and how YouFarm intends to provide access to technology for Zimbabwean farmers. This week we want to briefly look at how YouFarm is throwing the rule book out the window. But first a bit of housekeeping. Last week was a busy week for the YouFarm team as we went up against Zimbabwe’s top tech startups. A total of 50 teams from across Zimbabwe applied and only 10 made it to the Seedstars Harare final. We went up against some tough competition and seasoned operators. We came in third and will be representing Zimbabwe in Abidjan Ivory Coast later this year! Not bad as it was our first time entering a pitch competition. It also means we are onto something.
There is a 40% agricultural funding shortfall in Zimbabwe which mainly affects rural farmers. There are also thousands of financially disenfranchised farmers in Zimbabwe. In short traditional lenders are not catering to the needs of farmers in Zimbabwe. There is an agricultural funding requirement of approximately $549 million. There is a $223 million funding shortfall! Some of the reasons behind loan rejections include:
- lack of collateral
- poor past performance
- lack of farmer experience.
At YouFarm we recognise the needs of farmers. Some of the requirements for farmers to get loans are ridiculous. Its almost as if theres a hidden hand that does not want farmers in Zimbabwe to succeed. At YouFarm we are throwing all these preconditions out of the window. By thinking outside the box we have created a way to fund farmers without excluding them due to social or economic conditions. There are too many hectares of productive farm land lying fallow in Zimbabwe because the system refuses to recognize the needs of farmers.
Thinking outside the box
The YouFarm Crowd Farming Platform provides collateral free finance for farmers by getting people to invest in crops and livestock and share the profits with the farmer when the produce goes to market. In order to ensure that the farmer succeeds we pair them with experienced agronomists. This removes the need for the farmer to be experienced as we work closely with the farmers in order and educate them so that they become better farmers who reduce waste and increase yields.
We believe that all Zimbabweans should be beneficiaries of the land. By getting people to become cellphone farmers we are giving regular Zimbabweans a chance to earn money form the land. In the next few months, Zimbabweans will be able to earn real foreign currency when YouFarm opens up investment into export crops. Imagine that, getting a piece of that horticultural export action by simply investing using your mobile phone or laptop!
Next week we will talk about profit sharing and how simple it is for you to become a farmer that does not own any land.
Follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/youfarmzw or on twitter @YouFarmZim. To register as a farmer or investor log onto the website http://www.youfarm.co.zw and fill out the registration forms.