This Kenyan Startup Uses Mobile Phones To Build Credit For Farmers

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.

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Wind Turbines Contributing to Decline of Bat Population

 scientists-bat-deaths-wind-turbines

Wind turbines are a major threat to bats.

Wind turbines are killing many thousands of bats contributing to a population decline that may be costing farmers millions of pounds, say researchers.   Scientists found the blades of wind turbines were a major threat to bats particularly when they are migrating.

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Ban on Russian Grain Exports Causes Surge in U.S. Wheat and Corn Prices

wheat fire

A severe drought destroyed one-fifth of the wheat crop in Russia and wildfires swept in to finish off some of the fields that remained.

A temporary ban on Russian grain exports will boost income for U.S. farmers this year, but more demand could cause shipping bottlenecks.Russia, one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, is facing a shrunken crop due to a severe drought. Its announcement Thursday that it will ban grain exports through the end of the year to control domestic prices raises the possibility of stronger-than-expected U.S. exports.

 

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Round-Up Resistant Weeds Pose a Threat to Farmers

weeds

A certified crop adviser and agronomist looks for weeds resistant to glyphosate.

For 15 years, Eddie Anderson, a farmer, has been a strict adherent of no-till agriculture, an environmentally friendly technique that all but eliminates plowing to curb erosion and the harmful runoff of fertilizers and pesticides.

 

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‘Corn Smut’ – Revolting Fungus That Could Make You Younger and Healthier

corn smut

“The devil’s corn”

This looks like an alien parasite, or maybe an evil brain, but it’s actually a fungus that attacks corn. U.S. farmers call it “corn smut” and have spent millions to eradicate it. But it’s actually better for you than corn.

 

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