myAgro is a SMS-based layaway system that allows small-scale farmers in West Africa to save up for fertilizer, seed and training packages using their mobile phone. Registered farmers can purchase savings cards from vendors to add to their myAgro account in flexible amounts ($1 – $50). Upon receipt of the SMS, myAgro’s system automatically allocates the value of the farmer’s payment to the farmer’s layaway account. Smallholders choose how much and how often to pay into their layaway account in the lead up to planting season, and once they achieve their goal, myAgro delivers their chosen input package of fertilizer, seed and technical training.
myAgro also offers micro-dose fertilizer training, planting training for their different seed varieties, animal drawn seeder training, and off-season vegetable training.
Savings cards and input packages are sold through a network of 300 independent rural merchants in Senegal and Mali. Interview with representative
Scratch-off savings cards are sold in flexible amounts from $1-$50 USD.
myAgro aims to increase food security of subsistence farmers in West Africa.
myAgro targets farmers who own 1-5 hectares. Typical clients are usually faced with two problems: 1) lack of access to the market to buy inputs and sell their crops and 2) lack of financial tools that can help them to save money to buy agricultural inputs.
myAgro purchases inputs in bulk based on negotiated prices. Once received, myAgro does quality control inspection and sorting of seeds, due to uneven quality of input suppliers. myAgro then packages and delivers the physical goods themselves. Inputs are packaged and shipped to delivery points at the rural vendors for same day pick up by farmers.Interview with representative
1.) Farmers register with myAgro at harvest time and plan their goals for the following season (6-9 months away).
2.) Farmers receive a unique customer ID from myAgro.
3.) Farmers buy myAgro cards from their local store and send an SMS with the secret code on the back of the card and their customer ID.
4.) myAgro receives their SMS via their website platform and add their data to their database to calculate: the value of the card they purchased, the total in their account and progress towards their goal.
5.) myAgro responds back to the farmer to thank them for their purchase along with an update on their progress to date.
A demo of this process can be viewed here.
myAgro had 10,000 farmers in 2015 and has set a goal of working with 35,000 farmers by the end of 2016.^(Interview with representative)
(smartphone ,feature phone, computer, tablet, other [specify])
(2G, 3G, 4G, LTE,…)
(Connection to market, Microsavings, Supply chain information, Education on farming practices, Weather information, etc)
The three packages currently offered by myAgro are: • Corn Package – hybrid maize seed, fertilizer, and training • Sorghum Package – hybrid sorghum seed, fertilizer, and training • Peanut Package – peanut hybrid seeds, fertilizers, and training
myAgro agents provide training in modern farming methods contextualized for the African farm. Training is a key component, there is a deficit of knowledge regarding productive planting and fertilizing techniques. myAgro’s high staff to farmer ratio during planting (1:50 in new villages and 1:120 in more experienced villages) allows them to reach out to farmers and provide council, advice and on-field support.
myAgro’s goal is to push their farmers beyond subsistence farming and help them earn more than $4/day (myAgro’s impact plus farmers’ current earnings of $2/day).
myAgro’s main metrics of success are based on how much village vendor and farm businesses are growing due to myAgro products and services. They monitor how much more income village vendors and farmers are earning per year.
Through their model, myAgro can see real income by tracking each myAgro package sold and how many bags of maize or sorghum we buy from farmers.
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