Digital Access to Finance a Growing Need for Mexico’s FarmersBy Hugo Garduño | Wed, 05/18/2022 - 13:00
With all the environmental problems we have faced in recent decades, there has been a major shift in agriculture, from growth driven by resources to productivity-led growth. Instead of increasing agricultural production by expanding the amount of land, water, and land use inputs, most of today's agricultural growth comes from increased efficiency through the best combination of these inputs. This is achieved through the use of new technologies and practices in the fields. Since these technologies are not accessible to the majority of farmers in developing countries, the efficiency gap between developing and advanced countries is increasing every year and the most vulnerable are most affected.
Farmers' costs are very high. They have to pay for seeds, fertilizers, agrochemicals, gasoline for their machinery and renew their equipment. In Mexico, 93 percent of farmers do not have access to formal credit. Without access to capital, farmers cannot afford good-quality agricultural supplies for their fields or new machinery. This causes low productivity, low-quality production and low income, year after year. But when people can no longer
grow food for a living or to feed their families, they may make the difficult decision to migrate.
Future generations are also at risk, as they may not have enough food supply. Therefore, focusing on increasing the sustainability of agricultural productivity remains as urgent today as ever to secure the future and increase the quality of life for present generations of farmers.
There are several reasons for this difficult situation in the agricultural sector of developing countries.
Agribusiness is very informal. Most transactions take place in cash as farmers do not use banking services, such as debit accounts or credit cards. The lack of financial traceability makes it difficult to estimate the capacity of farmers to make payments, making it difficult for lenders to issue credit. It becomes a vicious circle as year after year farmers are left out of the financial system.
Agriculture is also a traditional industry in which digital operations and data analytics are not used for optimization of processes. Unfortunate weather conditions can also leave farmers with no income, meaning months of hard work may be worth nothing. If agriculture is the only source of income, families face complications regarding their ability to make pending payments and even with the provision of their basic needs.
Therefore, even after centuries of experimentation and progress, advances in agricultural productivity remain essential to provide basic human well-being, reduce extreme poverty, maintain food security and achieve social stability.
The public and private sectors can play an important role in improving the social and economic situation of farmers and achieving a supply of sustainable food for future generations. Giving farmers access to financial and educational resources would allow them to increase productivity, provide better quality to crops for buyers and increase revenue each year.
Farmers can also participate in digital society and use technology for the benefit of their businesses. With the necessary tools, farmers could grow their businesses, ensuring a sustainable future for the industry.
We are digitizing all flows of money, goods and information through these services:
● Provide access to finance, which enables farmers to increase their production investment by using good quality supplies in adequate amounts
● Provide technical support to farmers
● Use of digital technologies throughout the process, which reduces the time and money farmers spend on processes
● Ensure the sale of farmers' crops at the end of the cycle.
Today, there is a great opportunity to provide a tailored solution for this sector. With the high rate of internet coverage in Latin America and young farmers who have access to smartphones, it is the right time to build scalable solutions for vulnerable sectors that can impact millions of lives.
Obtaining a fair income would allow farmers to guarantee better living conditions for their families, spend more money on healthcare, nutrition for themselves and quality education for their children, investments that could produce long-term benefits for farming families.
At Verqor, we give farmers the opportunity to use credit to buy everything they need for their fields. We not only democratize access to credit, we also provide farmers with technical and administrative assistance. The goal is to unlock the agricultural potential in Mexico and provide farmers with the opportunities they deserve.