projecteverest

social consulting in agriculture

Hi guys, Soni here, from the Malawi July 2017 agriculture and social consulting assessment team.

I want to take the opportunity to share an idea looking specifically into micro financing and agriculture. First though, context! These past four weeks my team has worked to achieve our month long-goal to implement an experimental farm here in Blantyre, Malawi. We have successfully secured a one-acre parcel of land, through a partnership with the District Cabinet of Agriculture. Implementation of the farm will go forth in November. This experimental farm will improve the quality of life for the community, both in food security and income levels.

 

We found that most farmers had a problem of not growing enough produce or making enough harvest to sell or store, especially in the dry season. This is leading them to eat on average two meals per day, this is a current issue. That affects them in a detrimental way because farming is their main source of income. Through this I found that most women are not allowed to control the financial side of things, for example buying seeds/fertilizer and most women who were farmers are not aware of loans. If they can access a loan, they would get loans from their neighbors at cripplingly high interest rates of 20% and beyond.

 

We found that when asking women what they would do if they had access to a loan, most said they would start a small business. This could be as simple as offer a micro-financing loan, which will allow women to have enough money to buy enough seeds to feed a family or help start a simple business of growing a home garden to sell and eat. This loan would not be reliant on the men buying seeds or dealing with finances on behalf of the women, but empowering the women themselves and therefore promoting greater independence and food security.

 

There is a lot of evidence around the world, including here in Africa, where microfinancing for women to start up local farming businesses provides value to the community, through increase revenue streams, greater gender equality and healthier outcomes for families by having a home garden or a loan to buy farming equipment and seeds and sell the harvest.

 

In regards to the ‘how’ of this idea, is not for Project Everest to be the primary organization to be the benefactor but to be the facilitator, similar to how the experimental farm works. Therefore having not cemented revenue or cost structure Starting off with a testing phase and see what works and how it works. In order to alter the loan process and starting a small business of a home garden.

This is an idea, which has been successful in other communities, and one that I see this as a potential here in Malawi because of the need in this community for better food security and higher income levels will support its positive growth.

 

P.S  This is an idea I have put out there beause I would love to hear what you think or have any advice you have. hence the reason why I have not put in the refined logistics in.

 

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edited on Jul 26, 2017 by Soni Lawson

(Account removed) Jul 26, 2017

I love this idea, it is definitely addressing a problem that I noticed in the villages too. Maybe this could also create an opportunity to teach women more about budgeting and finances, and how best to spend their loan to maximise return!

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Soni Lawson Jul 26, 2017

Yes, i do like your point about teaching women how to budget it would be very important, however i think it would come with this idea. But i think first is to refine the idea in order for this to work

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Dolly Phiri Jul 26, 2017

Soni, this is amazing! I think empowering the women to be able to make their own financial decisions could make such a positive impact on the Malawian community. Especially because most of the farmers interviewed were women so they would be directly rewarded for the hard physical work they are putting in.
Starting on a small scale will show you if it is indeed a viable idea and you will have results to show to potential VCs.

Only problem is that they would need to provide some form of security for the loan and maybe some cannot afford this but surely once they see results they will be able to see the benefit of this.

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Soni Lawson Jul 26, 2017

Yes, i think you make a great point about forming a security loan, and yes the idea is for it to be beneficial for everyone in the communities.

Reply 2

Nate/ Nathan Lucas Jul 27, 2017

Sorry for the confusion, but would Project Everest provide a service where they provide microfinancing? Or would Project Everest provide a consultation service which prepares them for microfinancing, such as improving business plans and increasing financial literacy?

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Soni Lawson Aug 8, 2017

Hi Nathan,
Thats okay, thankyou for the question. More or so Project Everest would start off with providing a consultation service in which it prepares them for micro-financing. In order to figure out how the pros and cons to it before providing micro-financing.

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