Pinoy farming crowdfunder Cropital picked Asian startup to watch in 2020

HSBC Philippines
Pinoy farming Cropital
Filipino farmers get much needed financing, human, and technical support from the online crowdfunding platform of Cropital. Photo from Cropital.

Pinoy farming crowdfunder Cropital has been named an Asian startup to watch closely in 2020 by Fintechnews Singapore.

Cropital, a Filipino social enterprise that provides local farmers with access to affordable loans from supporters of the agricultural industry, was identified as one of the “6 Agri-Fintech Startups in Asia top Follow in 2020” published on February 3, 2020.

Fintechnews Singapore cited the Philippines-based online crowdfunding platform for providing a full complement of support to agricultural workers so they can continue farming.

The Cropital financing service raises funds from the public and then lends the capital to individual farmers at a much lower cost than what is offered by banks and other lending institutions.

Cropital also connects farmers to credible suppliers and buyers, crop insurance providers, and agricultural training providers.

Cropital notes that the average monthly income of farmers in the Philippines is
₱ 2,000 with 2 out of 3 living below the poverty line.

“Despite being an agricultural country, we are among the top rice importers in the world. Agriculture also contributes only 9% of the country’s GDP, while contributing to the majority of the country’s employment. This reality of the Philippine agriculture sector is baffling and unacceptable. Cropital exists to help solve these problems,” says Cropital of their mission.

GoodNewsPilipinas.com interviewed Cropital Chief Executive Officer & Founder Ruel Amparo and learned that the company has already served/lent to over 1,100 small farmers with the help of 3,300 lenders as of February 2020.

Amparo shares that Cropital has been trying to track increase in savings of farmers they have been helping. They noticed that farmers who renewed their loans also reduced the amount.

“When we asked them why, we were told that they are generating more savings from previous seasons funded by a Cropital loan and therefore needed less credit for the coming season.

“According to the farmers, this increase in savings was a result of higher yield after buying better input and supplies and a lower interest rate offered by Cropital.

“We’re also pretty excited about farmer’s higher yield. One farmer, in particular, shared that his earnings had doubled since joining Cropital. What he earned in two crop cycles (or 1 year) can now be achieved within one cycle (or 6 months),” revealed Amparo.

Amparo related this story of farmer Mario who was enabled to help both himself and his community with the help of Cropital push.

“Tatay Mario is one of the farmers who has expanded his farming operations beyond palay production in order to have other sources of income.

“Since he started taking a palay loan from Cropital, he was able to use the profit from palay to invest in ventures such as fingerlings production and pechay production.

“With these new ventures, he was able to hire two farmers (also farmers in his area). With Tatay Mario’s help, the farmers he hired were able to renovate their homes and purchase new motorcycles.”

Amparo also notes the challenges facing the farmers they are helping, particularly, by the Rice Tariffication Law, which essentially removed the quota on rice imports from other countries and allowed traders to import a near-unlimited quantity of rice. Despite providing them the full complement of Cropital support, the small rice farmers have been still struggling.

“Despite having access to affordable financing, technical support, and insurance, the total sales aren’t as great as previous seasons. We have been trying to find other means to support partner farmers with the hope that these initiatives can give farmers a buffer until prices stabilize,” added Amparo.

Cropital’s founder Rachel De Villa was named a Forbes venture capital gamechanger in 2016.

Other Filipino startup innovators have also gained world recognition, among them, InvestED’s CEO Carmina Bayombong who was honored by Cartier Women’s Initiative with the 2019 South Asia and Oceania laureate awards and Illac Diaz of Liter of Light whose 100-day journey to provide affordable solar lamps around the world in 2019 was recognized by the United Nations.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Cropital for innovating on ways to help Filipino farmers engage in profitable farming!

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Aurora Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.