Increasing Income for Smallholder Farmers
A PROBLEM OF DISTANCE
Sub-Saharan Africa has 25% of the world’s most arable land, yet only produces 10% of the world’s outputs
Smallholder farmers represent the number one population in the world. However, their contribution to the agriculture sector is far from its realized potential. This is especially the case in developing countries where the sector underperforms (FAO). There are vast inefficiencies throughout the entire ag-value chain that lead to this wide gap. Most of all, farmers don’t have access to the assets or technology that they need.
A PROBLEM OF FINANCIAL EXCLUSION
Over 80% of Ugandan borrowers resort to family and friends for credit with only a sliver taking loans from financial institutions
There is a massive market gap among institutions offering farmer-centric loans—ones that are built specifically for farmers on terms and conditions. This is an immense problem. It’s one that is not only hurting individual farmers, but affecting communities and the nation’s economy. Growth is stifled and people cannot invest properly. Once solved for, millions of farmers will lead better lives while simultaneously influencing the Ugandan GDP and overall economy. The upshot is huge—it’s about impact and business opportunities fused together.
As an impact-oriented company, our loans are purposefully designed with the benefit to our customers at the core. While other financial institutions prioritize profit, we focus on giving loans that have a direct impact on the farmer’s ability to increase income over time, using products that are fully vetted, tested, and piloted. A key element of our product offering is a fully guided experience. Our staff is hands-on throughout the entire process – from initial introduction through sales to asset delivery and training.
LAST MILE ACCESS
We have a deep understanding of the context in which we work, giving us the ability to offer financial products that meet the unique needs of our customers. A large majority are deep rural, with limited means of accessing traditional financial services. So our customer service model is fully focused on going to them – which means getting to know their community, collecting payments in-person, hand-delivering the assets, and being present to train and troubleshoot.
FARMER-CENTRIC LOAN TERMS
We’ve devised our terms and conditions to respond to the unique needs of our deep-rural customers. This means our initial down payment requirements, repayment schedules, and collateral needs are all designed to responsibly lower the adoption threshold so more farmers can access our income-producing assets.
Cycle Connect is challenging the traditional microfinance model by going to where our customers are, evaluating them differently, interacting with them differently, and collecting from them differently.
Last Mile Outreach
Traditional finance experiences a significant drop when it comes to clients accessing their products. Cycle Connect's last mile accessibility keeps the saturation rate higher. We go the distance to find our customers, whether it is 5 miles or 100.
We use the asset as collateral, reducing the barrier to entry and leaning into our client's loss aversion complex. We appraise the client as a farmer and give great weight to qualitative variables, such as community interactions.
Due to our unique approval process, we have a higher approval rate than traditional microfinance institutions causing a higher saturation rate from base of the pyramid borrowers.
Trainings play a crucial role in creating sustainability and generating the highest level of impact. Upon receiving the product, customers are trained by our loan officers on financial literacy, the loan agreement, savings, and product care.
Cycle Connect offers farmer financing-- using farmer income as the basis of repayments instead of a rigid structure. We also tap into existing behavior of regularly scheduled community meetings to optimize payments.
At the end of our loan cycle, the product has helped to increase income for the client, and they can move on to further invest in productive assets from Cycle Connect's portfolio.
All of our products are vetted and tested by the Cycle Connect innovations department for their ability to increase income for smallholder farmers.
A bicycle loan allows our clients to go farther to access critical resources such as water, education, and healthcare. With a bicycle, a client can carry 5x more crops, go 4x the distance, and increase their income by 35%.
Oxen & Plow
An oxen & plow loan allows our clients to till twice the amount of land in half the amount of time. Not only can a loan help save on oxen rental fees, but the client is able to rent out his fleet with a profit of $550 per year for rental only.
A motorcycle loan allows our clients to go farther and faster than ever before. With a motorcycle, our clients can carry more, save on travel costs, and increase their income through using the boda as a taxi company.
A grinding machine loan is a great business investment for our clients who want to start a business. The grinding machine increases income for the client and their family while also creating access for a whole community.