Agriculture is a huge deal in Zimbabwe and opportunities that can come from it are endless. One of the biggest problems that act as a stumbling block for farmers, however, is getting loans in order to actually start operating (or at least that’s the word on the street). This quickly becomes a vicious cycle because every year farmers struggle to get funding and because that’s the case they end up with sub-standard produce and it goes on and on.
The ripple effects in an agro-based economy (such as ours) are obviously dire and YouFarm is a startup that is stepping in and trying to cover this gap. The YouFarm platform allows people without access to land an opportunity to earn money and become a part of the agricultural value chain, as users can invest into farming projects.
On the farmers’ end, YouFarm enables them to access collateral-free funding and technology as people get to invest into their farms.
Investors and farmers get to share the profits once the product goes to market.
The platform works in a really simple way; you register as a farmer/investor. If you’re an investor you can browse farms/projects and then you can invest in the ones that are most appealing to you. There are short-term projects, medium projects and long-term projects. Obviously, these timeframes will determine how long it will take before you can actually cash-in your money. The timeframes are:
- Short-term: 120 Days
- Medium-term: 6 – 9 months
- Long-term: 12 months or more
Type of farm/crops grown
As indicated before, investors can sign up and once you’ve done so you’ll see the farms and projects that are in line with the whatever time frame you would have selected (you can select them all). There are a number of things you’re informed of regarding each project which is meant to allow you to make the right choice. You’re notified of the profit share you get per project (which varies from project to project). Investors are informed of know where the crop is going to be sold before investing, along with the required investment for the project along with minimum investment fees (if there are any).
Might I lose my money?
I may have lost a number of the readers when I used the term collateral-free. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to sign up for something without being entirely sure of which safety checks are present in order to secure your bag. Thankfully, YouFarm does have a number of risk-mitigation processes they have that ensure you’ll have your ROI.
Some of these include crop insurance which means that in the case of incidents like fires you’ll be getting your money back.
Another strategy used to safeguard investors and farmers is that no plant is actually planted unless the market for that crop has already been secured. Many a time farmers watch as goods perish before their eyes because they can’t get them out of their hands.
YouFarm also has in-house agronomists who are working hand in hand with the farmers to increase yields. Even more interestingly, they are also using drones and satellite NDVI crop data, to increase precision and reduce wastage.
Overall, it seems YouFarm is going to great lengths to try to protect investors whilst also benefitting the farmers.
You can invest using most of the common payment methods; EcoCash, OneMoney, MyCash or ZIPIT.
If you’re interested in signing up as an investor you can sign up here.
If you’re interested in signing up as a farmer you can sign up here.