Farmer Financing Enables Through Mobile Technology

Smartphone technology and satellite data are soon enabling 30 million Myanmar farmers to access finance and insurance options

Monsoon is about to start! The rainy season marks an uncertain period for smallholder farmers in Myanmar. Potential harmful floods and pest & diseases are having an enormous impact on the income of farmer families. Farmers have limited access to financing and insurance options to prevent or recover from potential losses.

As farming is a dynamic and volatile process, heavily impacted by factors such as weather, prices and practices, specific financial products are needed. Data is however scarce in Myanmar; therefore financial institutions face significant challenges in developing these products and assess risks. To make matters more complicated, transaction costs for delivering financial products are high due to the remoteness of farms, and the poor physical infrastructure in Myanmar.

Impact Terra, an ag- and fintech start up, aims to improve access to finance for farmers through its free mobile farming application and website Golden Paddy. Golden Paddy has proven to be a reliable source of knowledge for farmers. Since its launch last December, Golden Paddy has grown fast to a community of over 2 million farmers, and has users in more than 94% of all townships in Myanmar.

Erwin Sikma, founder of Impact Terra: “We clearly see a demand from farmers for objective real-time available information, easy access to markets and proper access to financing options. Data from our platform, farmer interviews and feedback from our partners show that farmers are changing their decision-making and farming processes. Significant impact on yields and income will however take time”.

The app and website already offer farmers real-time and personalized warnings about water and pest risks, as well as up to date market information, and crop and location specific knowledge. The next step for Impact Terra is to integrate satellite data into its platform, and thereby enable “precision farming” at farm level. The satellite data will be bundled with data from the Golden Paddy platform into (real-time) data products and insights that financial institutions need.

On May 19th Impact Terra and NpM organized a seminar around access to finance for farming - bringing together parties such as International Finance Corporation (IFC), commercial banks, micro-finance institutions, insurance providers, farmer associations and government bodies. During the seminar, data and regulatory needs were identified and strategies for distributing and managing financial product to farmers were discussed. The results are publicly available on www.impactterra.com.

With the free mobile Golden Paddy application, farmers will be better prepared for the future.

ABOUT IMPACT TERRA Impact Terra is an agriculture and financial technology venture based in Myanmar that aims to connect farming through smartphones. For more info go to www.impactterra.com, or get in touch via email: impact@impactterra.com