Agrabah Ventures Inc. signs MOA with Bangon Pinoy Finance Corporation (BPFC – Kaagapay Financing)

A memorandum of agreement (MOA) between Agrabah Ventures and  Bangon Pinoy Finance Corporation (BPFC – Kaagapay Financing) was signed with the objective to offer financial inclusion for farmers and fisherfolks.

In attendance at the event were signatories, Agrabah Ventures CEO and Co-founder Mr. Joselito Ocol Jr. and BPFC – Kaagapay Financing President Mr. Edmund Solilapsi who finalized the agreement through a virtual signing ceremony on September 6, 2021. Also present at the event, were Agrabah Ventures COO and Co-founder Ms. Josephine Gumino-Ocol and BPFC Business Development Associate, Ms. Grace Clemente.

As the entire globe adjusts to the new normal, Agrabah Ventures plans to provide ongoing financial assistance to help people recover and manage the effects of the epidemic. Digital platforms such as Agrabah Finance enables farmers and fisherfolks to have an easy and convenient way to access financial services that are tailored to their needs.

Agrabah Finance is an online platform that seeks to make applications for financial services easier for farmers and fisherfolks, as well as establish a smoother transaction, with the help of financial institution partner BPFC – Kaagapay Financing as the financial service provider.

The Agrabah Finance platform connects to Agrabah members all across the nation and lets users browse, compare, apply for, and pay for numerous financial products that are designed for farmers and fisherfolks.

In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, BPFC – Kaagapay Financing would like to increase loan offerings to women farmers to empower them to grow their operations.

Kaagapay Financing aims to support and empower under-served Filipino micro entrepreneurs through providing innovative business products in convenient business installments as they contribute to the socio-economic growth of their families, communities and the Philippines.​

By collaborating with stakeholders such as Kaagapay Financing (BPFC), Agrabah envisions a better future for farmers and fisherfolks nationwide.

#AgrabahVentures
#AgrabahFinance
#AgrabahFarmers
#fintechforimpact
#UNICEFfintechforimpact
#BPFC
#KaagapayFinancing

Why Your Farm Should Choose Agrabah Finance: A blog about using the platform for farmers.

July 23, Agrabah was the guest at DWRV 98.3FM Radio Caritas Mariae – The Mother’s Touch on the weekly Agriculture program “Oras nin Paraoma” of Naga City; Host: Ms. Kimberly Cepriaso Joson

The topic centered around financial inclusion for farmers and fisherfolks and how Agrabah is bridging the gaps.

Financial Inclusion is a topic that has been difficult for both experts and non-experts to grapple with. It is simple enough that anyone with a smartphone can use a credit scoring app and borrow money. Yet it also requires a deeper understanding of finance, including income, credit history, savings, loans and investing. Unfortunately, financial literacy is low among the people of the Philippines.

What is Financial Inclusion?

What is financial inclusion? It’s simply the idea that everyone can access credit. For example, everyone who is paying taxes and receiving subsidies should be able to buy things on credit, either from a bank or another financial institution. A growing number of banks have signed on to the idea, and there is growing support for such initiatives from the Banko Central. It is estimated that roughly 45 million Filipinos do not have access to traditional banking services. Yet, others believe that the number of financially excluded Filipinos could be as high as 70 million. The financial inclusion agenda is a major initiative that will likely shape financial services in the years to come.

So, what is Agrabah Finance?

Agrabah Finance provides a comparison of loans from several lending sources. The site allows users to compare their loan options using easy to read charts. Additionally, it features a loan payment calendar so users can see how much they will pay each month and how much debt they can take on. Agrabah Finance is simple and effective at providing the information that users need to make an educated decision about their financial future.

Users can enter in their personal information and receive quotes for different types of loans from different providers that match their needs. This site makes it easy for people to understand what it takes to borrow money and how much they have to repay.

How does this platform address the gap?

In the Philippines, one of the obstacles of farmers or fisherfolks applying for a bank loan is accessibility. They have to travel at least 1 hour going to a bank and when they reach, sometimes they lack some requirements and they have to travel back. It takes 1-3 days just to complete the application process.

To add, most of the time they are shy to go to the bank because of how they are dressed. They sometimes feel that they would just be rejected and discriminated.

With the Agrabah Finance platform, they can do the application in the convenience of their own homes. They can even upload their documents online. The disbursement of the bank is through digital means too. Through the Agrabah Finance platform, farmers and fisherfolks can process their loan applications and once approved receive their loans all without having to travel to the bank for processing.

Agrabah is providing accessibility and convenience to our farmers and fisher folks.

Agrabah Platform was made possible by the help and guidance of #UNICEF Fintech for Impact and #ING

The platform will be open to the public on or before October.  For early sign-ups you can follow this link!

#AgrabahVentures
#AgrabahFinance
#AgrabahFarmers
#fintechforimpact

Financial Inclusion for Seaweed Farmers

Did you know that experts have described seaweed farming as a key solution in battling climate change? It can sequester carbon on land and at sea, minimize livestock methane emissions, regenerate marine habitats, and enrich the soil.

The Philippines has been the third-largest producer of seaweed globally. A major area of seaweed production on the island of Luzon is the Bicol Region. 

Caramoan is one of the most visited tourist spots in Bicol because of its beautiful beaches and is one of the largest producers of seaweeds in Luzon. It was also the filming location of many international “Survivor” TV Series. 

Local fisherfolks’ have 3 main revenue streams: Fishing, Seaweed Farming, and Tourism. When the lockdown was implemented, all revenue streams were lost.

Fishing – They usually supply seafood to local hotels and restaurants. The Covid-19 Pandemic and the subsequent lockdown closed tourism in the area. This caused the fisherfolks to have very little market for their catch, and the seafood selling prices dropped in the area.

Tourism – They use their boats to ferry tourists around the islands. They also supply tourists with lunch on boats, buko, and other local crafts. With Tourism being closed down due to the pandemic, all of these sources of income were gone.

Seaweed Farming – This could have been the fisherfolks’ saving grace revenue. However, since the global production of carrageenan slowed down, it also affected the seaweed buying price. There was more available supply than the limited demand, which pulled the buying price down. To add insult to injury, in the last quarter of 2020, three (3) consecutive storms in 2 weeks hit the area. All of the fisherfolks’ seaweed seedlings were wiped out. At this point, they decided not to plant more seaweed for 2021, because they were already in too much debt. If none of the fisherfolks plant seaweed, it could mean the end of the Bicol Seaweed Industry.

With the help of Agrabah’s partner sponsors, (Enchong Dee, Project Smile, Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pirate Shack & Pechelito’s Resorts) and through coordination with the Caramoan LGU,  

we launched the #SaveBicolSeaweedIndustry Campaign. 

On March 3, 2021, Team AGRABAH went to Caramoan to provide farmers with seaweed seedlings and food kits for immediate relief.

The food kits were distributed to 100 seaweed farming families. The 7.5 tons of seaweed seedlings provided 25 seaweed farmers with 300kg per family to restart their seaweed farms.

With this initiative, we have supported 530 Individuals composed of PWD’s(1.89%), Seniors (4.53%), Minors (26%), and Able-bodied citizens (67.55%).

There are 500+ more seaweed farming family beneficiaries who need seedlings and farm implements (boats, ropes, and goggles).

These efforts were the first wave of relief. We are continuing to raise more donations and hope to do another wave of support soon.

More than short-term support, Agrabah is looking into the future. Team AGRABAH has been onboarding the farmers and fisherfolks of Caramoan, Camarines Sur into its online registry. The registry is integrated into Agrabah’s financial platform, which helps provide farmers with unique credit scoring, and access to different financing from AGRABAH’s partner financial institutions.

Access to different financial products allows farmers to expand their production, without being stuck in traditional debt traps. With more dignified options and more comprehensive information, farmers will not be obliged to sell their products at a low pre-negotiated price by traditional loan sharks.

All produce grown and delivered by Agrabah Registered Farmers will also be tagged for traceability. Agrabah’s new traceability features, make it is easier to identify the source of quality issues and helps Agrabah determine where to provide targeted capacity building for community improvement.

The traceability features will also allow AGRABAH to expand to export markets because it is required by European countries.

Through the support of #UNICEF #fintechforimpact and #ING, we can provide financial inclusion to our local farmers and fisherfolks.

If you wish to support the #SaveBicolSeaweedIndustry campaign, we are open to donations, both in cash and in-kind. Any help at this stage counts and will surely reach those who are currently in need the most.

#AgrabahVentures
#AgrabahFarmers
#fintechforimpact
#FarmingisSexy
#Seaweed

Hope for flower farmers in times of COVID-19 Pandemic

Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020 is a big day for the cut flower industry, sadly March 2020 Metro Manila was put on lockdown.

The pandemic struck at the worst possible moment for the flower industry. May to June is typically a busy period: it’s the beginning of the wedding season, and holidays such as Easter and Mother’s Day mark it.

Big orders have already been placed for flowers that are grown and ready to ship by early March. But demand among buyers has collapsed as of 2020.

Things are a bit different, with florists closing and numerous special occasions cancelled worldwide.

A different picture of the flower industry is being painted by Agrabah Ventures in the Philippines.  

More than just a platform, Agrabah Ventures solidify its business model by continuously providing the cut flower farmers with constant orders. Providing them with direct access to market, financing support and logistics.

Business is Blooming at Agrabah!

Agrabah has helped Philippine flower farmers provide 1.5 Million units of cut flowers. This provided over P10.9Million in revenue directly to farmers. Supporting over 500 cut flower farmers in the process.

This was made possible through the support of #UNICEF #fintechforimpact and #ING, we were able to onboard our cut flower farmers of Benguet. We hope to provide financial inclusion to the most vulnerable in the agriculture value chain.

More Flower Power to come as we prepare for Valentine’s Day 2021!

Ask us how we can help your business bloom too, If you need help with Agri-procurement.

#AgrabahVentures
#AgrabahFarmers
#fintechforimpact
#Opensource
#Sustainability
#FarmingisSexy
#flowerpower

Making Agriculture Great Again: Community Onboarding

After Super Typhoon Rolly wiped out most of the crops of our local farmers in Bicol, AGRABAH VENTURES initiated a Donation Drive providing our farmers with relief goods such as rice, vegetables and seeds. Through the help of different private organizations, Collectively, #BayanihanBicol raised a total of PHP197,000 in cash and in-kind and was able to help and support 360 households (2% PWD, 23% senior, 75% able-bodied).

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” – Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie

AGRABAH believes in sustainability. We provide our farming communities more than just relief goods. We work towards providing lifelong livelihoods for our communities, through AGRABAH’s Wharf Platform. We have secured a stable market for our cut flower farmers in Pacol, Camarines Sur. We are projecting allocations worth at least Php100,000 – Php 200,000 of weekly flower order for their community.

Traditionally, the community only grows cut flowers twice a year; the First Quarter of the year for Holy Week Harvest and the Third Quarter of the year for All Souls’ Day Harvest. Having our cut flower farmers onboarded into AGRABAH’s Wharf Platform now means they can have a continuous cycle of harvest weekly providing them a combined sales of approximately PhP 4.8M – 9.6M annually. Now, they can focus more time on continuously improving the quality and volume of their farm products, instead of trying to find buyers for their bounty.

Staying true to our beliefs, we continuously help build our communities to be more resilient. Agrabah Ventures, in partnership with The Agricultural Training Institute – Regional Training Center V (ATI Bicol), spearheaded a two-day Skills Enhancement Training on Soil Management for the Pacol Cut Flower Farmers last December 9-10, 2020 at Barangay Pacol, Naga City, Camarines Sur. This training is in support of the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) of the Department of Agriculture, which aims to equip flower farmers with valuable knowledge and skills in proper management of soil planted with their cut flowers.

The participants were also taught on how to produce their own natural pesticides and organic fertilizers to promote organic gardening.

The Pacol Flower Farming Community were also provided and equipped with assorted vegetable seeds to produce their own food, along with Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Materials as guides in planting those vegetables. AGRABAH was also able to award them with a new Rotovator to aide their transition to modern farming with the help of the generous donation of Enchong Dee.

Rotovator donated by Enchong Dee to Pacol Cut Flower Association

We are currently building a platform that allows our farmers with easy access to financing in order to grow their production. What’s exciting about this platform is that it is integrated into our trading platform the provides us with more data about farmer transaction especially the volume, frequency, and total transaction value. This will help us build a credit scoring tailored to farmers and fisherfolks which banks or lending institutions can use to assess risk.

Through the support of #UNICEF #fintechforimpact and #ING, we were able to onboard our cut flower farmers of Pacol Naga City.

#AgrabahVentures
#AgrabahFarmers
#fintechforimpact
#Opensource
#Sustainability
#FarmingisSexy

Providing financial opportunities to Filipino Farmers

Team Agrabah with one of our cut flower Farming Communities, in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

While 40% of Filipino workers are involved in the Agriculture Sector, and contributing around 20% to the country’s GDP, banks in the Philippines have difficulty reaching the agriculture and agrarian reform loan limit mandated by the BSP (Banco Sentral ng Filipinas).  According to RA 10000, the mandatory credit allocation in Presidential Decree 717 is 25 percent of banks’ total loanable funds are to be set aside for agriculture and fisheries in general, of which at least 10 percent should be made available for agrarian reform beneficiaries banks.

Penalties for non-compliances hit P6 billion in the last two years, according to Monetary Board member Bruce Tolentino. Many banks preferred to pay the penalty rather than actually lend to farmers who are still perceived to pose high credit risks.

Agrabah Ventures is building a loan comparison and matching platform that provides banks / lending Institutions with a form of credit rating for farmers doing transactions in the Agrabah Wharf Platform.

Agrabah Wharf is a managed service provider platform that allows farmers and fisher folks to sell their produce direct to institutional clients. The current limitation for small shareholder farmers in expanding their production is due to their lack of collateral and other required documents that need to be submitted before their loan is approved.

With an actual market transaction backbone, Agrabah Ventures hopes to provide banks with purchase order details and production capacity information, to help showcase that Agrabah supported farmers have the capacity to repay their loans.

With Agrabah’s new loan comparing and matching platform Agrabah Ventures is confident that more banks would be willing to loan to farmers. The platform also assists in helping farmers make smarter money decisions with the financial products that best suit their individual needs.

At the moment Agrabah Ventures is supporting Coastal Seaweed Farmers in the Bicol Region, Cut Flower farmers in Benguet, Tarlac, Pampanga and Naga, Egg Producers in Batangas, and Vegetable farmers in Benguet, Naga and Nueva Vizcaya. Agrabah plans to expand to Visayas and Mindanao by 2021.

For farmers or fisher folks who wants to be part of the pilot they can sign up here => SIGN UP

Through the support of #UNICEF #fintechforimpact and #ING, we were able to onboard our cut flower farmers of Pacol Naga City.

#AgrabahVentures
#AgrabahFarmers
#fintechforimpact
#Opensource
#Sustainability
#FarmingisSexy
#LoanMatching
#LoanComparison