Farmer Story #3

by Team iFarmer, 2020-09-13

Charubela Roy’s journey with i-Farmer

Charubela Roy from Lalmonirhaat, Bangladesh has been a cattle farmer for 6 years. Before getting introduced to iFarmer, she used to depend heavily on local microfinance institutes (MFI) and family members for taking cattle related loans. Although she has previously taken a cattle loan for a 4 month period from an MFI. With MFIs, loan repayments begin from the first week of taking them, which becomes financially burdensome for families like Charubela’s. Many times, they have to sacrifice their personal savings and forego other payments to repay these loans. iFarmer understands this struggle and is constantly introducing new benefits for more than 5,000 farmers like her. What are the benefits that i-Farmer provides to its farmer base? When Charubela Roy decided to receive funding support from iFarmer, a field facilitator accompanied her to the market to select a healthy cattle, and paid for it on her behalf. After this, she was tagged with a cattle feed distributor and she could collect the feed as per requirement under iFarmer’s account. A healthy cattle of 160+ kg can consume up to BDT 7000-10000 in 4 months. This support from iFarmer saved her the extra trouble of collecting additional funds for cattle feed. The iFarmer representative also ensured that the cattle were vaccinated free of cost. In case of illness, they provide her with free veterinary services. This was especially helpful during the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) outbreak. iFarmer has also helped her sell cattle directly to urban consumers via e-commerce sites. This is an exciting opportunity for farmers like Charubela. Traditionally, she used to sell her cattle to the local market or through agents and had to pay high fees to middlemen. iFarmer representatives also assisted her by arranging a transportation service to sell her cattle to distant places. After sale, she repaid iFarmer, where she was charged a lower interest rate than local MFIs. iFarmer stood by Charubela and her family during the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. Her family was provided with a month’s food ration and masks along with leaflet instructions on how to stay safe from catching the virus. Overall, by offering lower interest rates than local MFIs, a flexible approach to loan repayment, input services, and transport services, i-Farmer is working hard to provide a holistic package to its farmers to improve their everyday lives. Now, through iFarmer’s support, many farmers who could not afford to raise cattle are constructing sheds inside their homes to earn higher incomes, making upto BDT 8,500/cattle of net additional income for their families. Overall, they are very satisfied to be a part of the iFarmer family.