Best Projects 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category click HERE
The YouFarm Crowd Farming Platform
Explain your project in details:
YouFarm (Private) Limited is a Zimbabwean company that finds alternative financing for farmers through our unique crowd farming platform. YouFarm allows people to invest in crops and livestock. When the crops and livestock go to market, the farmers, investors and YouFarm share the profits after the investors have been paid. Investors will be able to choose between short term, medium term and long term investments. Using the YouFarm platform a person can open up a portfolio and select the crops that they want to invest in and the amount that they want to invest. The YouFarm website and mobile application allow a person to invest from anywhere in the world. YouFarm seeks to improve access to finance for farmers in Zimbabwe by: Providing alternative funding for farmers via our crowd farming platform Providing funding for farmers who may not qualify for traditional forms of financing in particular small scale farmers, women, youth and farmers who do not have access to collateral Providing a guaranteed market for produce in order to ensure that investors get a return on investment Allowing people to become part of the agricultural value chain by investing in crops and livestock Allowing people without land to become farmers In order to ensure that investors receive a return on investment, YouFarm works with the farmers by providing extension services like agronomists and soil sampling and testing services. YouFarm also educates farmers on best practice. In order to reduce some of the risks associated with farming, YouFarm also works with companies that can provide satellite data and weather forecasting thus transfering technology to Zimbabwean small scale and commercial farmers.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Since our launch in 2017 YouFarm has registered 45 farmers without any advertising. They are a mixture of small scale and commercial farmers. This translates to over 3300 hectares of land, 1700 hectares of land that is immediately available to farm and 400 hectares that is irrigable. Our success will be measured by the number of hectares farmed and farmers funded and money paid out to investors.
Sustainability and future plans
The YouFarm business model works by sharing the profits between that farmer, investor and YouFarm after the produce has gone to market and the investors have been repaid the principal investment amount. YouFarm is there to protect the investors money by making sure that the farmers use the inputs correctly, have access to agronomy services and that the crops are insured against force majeur and political risk. In the future YouFarm intends to venture into processing and packaging of agricultural produce so that we can obtain better value for farmers and investors.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
John-Paul is a 35 year old entrepreneur with a passion for helping others and seeing those around him succeed. In 2016 his mother asked him to help with her farm. He then realised that there was no way that he could get funding for farming operations because of his lack of farming experience, the high cost of finance in Zimbabwe and the fact that he did not have any collateral to borrow against. It then occurred to him that there must be plenty of farmers in the same boat, in particular young farmers, rural farmers and women who do not have access to title deeds or collateral. Round about the same time he was doing an entrepreneurship course called Adansonnia with Boconni University. This is where the idea of YouFarm was born from.