myAgro: Moving Smallholder Farmers Above the Poverty Line
myAgro has pioneered a mobile layaway savings model that enables rural farmers to invest in quality farming inputs to increase their income.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Grand Standing, Thies
Location(s) of impact
Mali: Bamako, Sikasso
Senegal: Touba Toule, Nioro, Niakhar
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
Rural Mali and Senegal have some of the highest youth unemployment rates in the region. Youth are migrating to urban centers, depleting talent that sustain the agri sector.
Agriculture is not seen as an option because:
*Majority of smallholder farmers are food insecure and live in poverty.
*Farmers do not have access to seed, fertilizer, tools, training, and capital that can increase their incomes.
Of the $500B annual smallholder financing need, only 3% is being met, and only 7% of that is reaching smallholders.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
myAgro makes agriculture a profitable employment option by enabling farmers to increase their incomes and move their families out of poverty. The first of its kind, myAgro developed a mobile layaway platform that allows farmers to save and invest their own funds toward seed, fertilizer, and training. Farmers buy myAgro cards and layaway $1 - $50 in savings. At planting time, farmers’ funds are used to purchase inputs, and myAgro provides on-farm follow up and training to help farmers maximize their harvest yields.
Additionally, myAgro trains and employs youth as field agents to provide farmers technical and enrollment assistance. myAgro’s Leadership Program equips youth with agriculture, technology, and leadership skills that make them competitive for the global market.
Shared value: As farmers gain purchasing power, regional agribusinesses win more potential customers, leading to the emergence of new markets. As smallholders move out of poverty, the entire ecosystem thrives.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
myAgro has served more than 34,000 farmers in Mali and Senegal, and will serve 60,000 in 2018. With farmers supporting 10 people on average, myAgro is indirectly benefiting 340,000 people. myAgro farmers double their harvest yields by 50-100% and their net income/hectare by $150-$350/season. This translates to increased food security and investments in education, healthcare, and their farms.
With this demonstrated income growth, more youth are turning to farming as a source of income. Additionally, myAgro is one of the fastest growing employers of youth across rural Mali and Senegal (outside mining and extraction). 90% of myAgro Field Agents are youth. In 2017, myAgro employed 250 youth as Field Agents, and expect to train and hire 190 more in 2018.
Environmental Impact: myAgro helps farmers increase investment in their farms, thereby restoring under-cultivated farmlands—currently only 25% is used for planting. Farmers also learn planting techniques that help sustain soil health.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
myAgro is supported by grants, loans, and earned income through a modest product margin added to each package of inputs sold to farmers. Our goal is to be 100% financially sustainable by 2021. Improved systems supporting field teams, partnerships, and technology tools have driven down the cost of service delivery from $200/farmer in 2012 to $55/farmer in 2017. This will drive myAgro to get to a scale where our revenues cover 100% of all direct field costs in West Africa by 2021.
1. Individual donations or gifts - 1%
2. Grants - 74% (Foundation - 71%; Government - 3%)
3. Corporate contributions - 10%
4. Earned income - 15% (Field revenue - $947,000)
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
No other organization globally uses savings to help farmers invest in their farms and grow their incomes.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
myAgro Founder Anushka Ratnayake has worked in rural Africa since 2008 to increase food security and incomes of smallholder farmers. As an early employee of One Acre Fund, Anushka created a flexible cash repayment system, spending most of her days with farmers to observe and understand who repaid their loans and who struggled to repay. She repeatedly heard farmers ask for the option to pre-pay their loan a few months before receiving it. This sparked myAgro’s “Aha” moment. Anushka realized that while farmers used the language of credit, they were actually describing the desire to save. Anushka founded myAgro to prove that farmers have money to save, using this to make investments that increase their yields and income.
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