Ensuring farmers don't come a cropper

A farmer receiving training from the Cropital team.
A farmer receiving training from the Cropital team.PHOTO: CROPITAL

THE PHILIPPINES • Doing good comes with great rewards. This is the philosophy that keeps Cropital - a crowdfunding platform put up by a group of Filipino millennials to help local farmers - running.

Since its launch in November 2015, Cropital has provided financial support to around 560 farmers in the Philippines, said Ms Rachel de Villa, 24, the organisation's co-founder and chief technology officer.

"Cropital was born out of a need to support smallholder farmers by providing them with services that empower them, improve their productivity and ultimately increase their income," she said.

"This is made possible by the growing global network of Cropital community who come from all walks of life and are willing to give their hard-earned money to support our farmers."

The enterprise enables low-cost, sustainable agricultural investments to support farmers.

"More than the funding, Cropital also helps farmers reduce the risks in farming and improve productivity by processing crop insurance, providing a buyer, and giving training and access to technology partners," she said.

At Cropital, people can choose from a list of farms to invest in.

Cropital manages the fund for the farmers, making sure they get the resources they need, and investors receive their return on investment once the produce has been sold.

To date, Cropital has raised US$120,000 (S$166,500) worth in investment, according to Ms de Villa. The returns for users range from 3 per cent to 30 per cent in under six months.

Cropital won Social Enterprise of the Year at the Philippine Rice Bowl Start-up Awards 2016.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2017, with the headline 'Ensuring farmers don't come a cropper'. Print Edition | Subscribe