Philanthropist Bill Gates writes:
Whenever I travel to rural parts of the world, the farmers I meet talk about one thing that holds them back: they can’t save their money.
They don’t mean they spend more than they earn. They mean that, literally, they don’t have a safe place to put their money, since 235 million of the world’s farmers don’t have banks.
Storing it at home is risky. Your house could catch on fire or be swept away in a flood—or someone could break in and steal all of your savings. For many poor smallholder farmers, the solution is simple: you don’t save at all.
If you don’t have a safe place to store your money, the smartest thing to do is spend as you earn. That’s a problem, though. Farmers make most of their money during harvest time, and they spend the most during the planting season when they buy seeds. Without money saved up, farmers can’t afford high quality seeds and fertilizer.
Luckily, there are a number of innovative companies working on creative solutions. A Mali-based company called MyAgro has a particularly clever approach. Read more