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Bitcoin startup Bitmari introduces farmers in rural Zimbabwe to cryptocurrency as a cash alternative

   

In the Zimbabwean cryptocurrency space, there have been a couple of players that have been focused on Bitcoin as a currency alternative. On this list, there’s Bitmari  – a startup that has been laying the groundwork to be the country’s first Bitcoin remittance startup.

While the startup wrestles with the regulatory aspects associated getting its primary service off the ground the Bitmari team has extended its services to the financing of the agricultural work of a small number of rural women.

Bitmari is leading the efforts of the Zimbabwe Women Farmers Accelerator a new entity set up to work with 10 women farmers from each of the 10 provinces and help them access support such as farming assistance from agricultural experts as well as inputs.

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All this is being paid for through a crowd fund of US$22,500 started by Bitmari. Each of the farmers will get support for their project in the form of Bitcoin which they will receive on their Bitmari Bitcoin Wallets.

They will then redeem the Bitcoin for the necessary farming input from selected suppliers. After a successful season, the farmers are expected to repay the money and it will be used by the next group of farmers.

So far $17,000 has been raised for the fund and in the meantime, Bitmari has already started work on educating the participants on the alternative currency.

The work has been a joint effort with Agribank, some select suppliers of farming inputs and The Women Farmers Land and Agriculture Trust – a small-scale farmers trust.

For Bitmari the idea here seems to be to raise awareness on the Bitcoin and its advantages, especially in communities  that would ordinarily wouldn’t adopt a digital cash alternative that hasn’t become as mainstream as mobile money.

It’s also a chance to throw in the idea of a new type of money that farmers can receive from the diaspora (Bitmari is still gunning for remittances over and above everything) with the crowdfund element passing on the financial obligation to a supporting community.

If it’s successful it could become one of the ways that Bitcoin, a bond note Zimbabwean currency alternative, and cash crisis solution will be evangelised in outlying communities.


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