If you want to help the world’s poorest, help them to farm. So says Bill Gates, and it makes sense. More than three-quarters of the poorest live in rural areas and most are smallholder farmers working less than two acres. They often lack the seeds, machinery, livestock, and finance they need to grow, so they struggle to emerge from poverty.
Two young entrepreneurs from Kenya have an idea to help: FarmDrive develops credit histories for farmers, so they become more attractive to financial institutions offering loans. So far, they’ve signed up more than 3,000 farmers on their mobile-based platform. In 2016, working with a financial partner, they helped disburse about $130,000 in loans to 400 farmers.