The following post was kindly provided by our grantee, myAgro, and features some stories from farmers they are supporting in Mali and Senegal. To read more about this grant, please visit our recent blog post announcing the award.
myAgro’s unique mobile layaway platform allows farmers to save their funds in small increments, whenever they have cash available, using their mobile phones. myAgro’s system is a smart twist on how people in developing countries buy “airtime” for their cell phones: just as farmers go to their village shop to buy scratch cards for pre-paid phone minutes, they can now buy myAgro cards and layaway $1 to $50 to purchase seed and fertilizer during the planting season. When a farmer buys a myAgro card, a text message with the card’s code and amount is sent to myAgro’s database, and myAgro allocates the amount to the individual farmer’s account. myAgro then purchases high quality seed and fertilizer in bulk and, at planting time, delivers them to farmers along with technical training. myAgro farmers see a 50-100% increase in harvest yields, which translates to $150-$350 in net income. myAgro’s program is an easy, transparent, and scalable way for farmers to increase investment in their farms and increase their income.
myAgro Farmer Stories
Waraba Bagayoko, Mali
Waraba Bagayoko is a first year myAgro farmer living in the small village of Sido in Southern Mali. myAgro farmers like Waraba wait for harvest time with anticipation — dreaming of what they will do with the income they will have from a successful growing season.
Waraba Bagayoko and her nephew planted maize and peanuts with myAgro, next to fields they planted using traditional methods. Seeing the side-by-side difference, Waraba said, “I worked hard to follow the myAgro farming methods, and it’s clear to me the difference in my fields.” myAgro farmers learn important farming techniques on land preparation, fertilizer micro-dosing, and planting that help improve the health of the plants and improve harvest yields.
When asked what she’ll do with her harvest, the grandmother of four started jumping up and down and said, “Oh my grandchildren will be so full of joy! We’ll have enough to eat this year.”
Maimouna Ndao, Senegal
Maimouna Ndao is a farmer in the rural village of Dawady, in Senegal. With six children and 20 grandchildren to support, she was under constant pressure from her family to use any extra income for daily needs. After joining a savings group — organized by partner organization, Oxfam — and enrolling in myAgro’s program, Maimouna saw a difference in her ability to ease financial pressures and invest in her farm. “I joined myAgro because I can save little by little by buying scratch cards as soon as I have extra cash. Being able to save for inputs over mobile layaway benefits not only me, but also my family in the long run.”
Maimouna put her savings towards a 1/8-hectare package of peanuts and collectively saved with a group for an additional 1/4-hectare package. Her peanut harvest not only helps feed her big family, but also allows her to buy school supplies for her grandchildren and medicine when her family members are sick.
“If you have a good harvest, you have many choices and I can do a lot for my family.”