Malaysian bookkeeping and P2P microfinance app for farmers


0

There is no doubt that the local agricultural scene is moving towards adoption smart farming methods, whether it is in civilized or rural Regions.

But becoming a successful agricultural pioneer is not just about finding the most efficient method of farming; One also needs to deal with bookkeeping systematically and find the best way to finance the expensive agricultural technology.

Describing themselves as an agricultural fintech startup, captains is an early stage startup focused on empowering smallholder farmers through digital and financial inclusion. Their name is short for Capital for farmers, which translates into capital for farmers – a summary of their goals.

Kapitani was co-founded by Nazrul, Iskandar and Hadi, who are the CEO, COO, and CEO of the company respectively. Nazrul was an engineer in the telecom industry, while Iskander was an engineer at Sime Darby Group and ZTE, and Hadi was a systems integrator.

Helping small farmers innovate

“Although most smallholder farmers realize that adopting technology will enhance profitability and efficiency, they are living off the harvest without the surplus capital that could fund the high initial costs of high-tech farming systems and equipment,” the team shared with Vulcan Post.

While there are plenty of agricultural loans available in Malaysia with relatively low interest, farmers are still reluctant to borrow. The reason is the lack of financial data to make informed decisions about agricultural technology integration.

Nazrul and Iskandar with a farmer Subscribe to the app / Image Credit: Kapitani

“Our short-term goal is to help smallholder farmers build a track record of their farms’ past commercial performance to forecast future growth potential,” they explained.

If this works out as planned, this data will give these farmers the confidence they need to make informed decisions just like any other business.

Such data is almost non-existent for small farmers yet, because most of them do no bookkeeping at all, and still run their farm in the traditional way that mixes personal income with farm revenue.

Starting with the basics

As this is still in its early stage of startup, Kapitani is still running beta testing with a group of farmers, and it’s only available to Android users by invitation at the moment.

Basically, this is how it works: Once farmers sign up for their bookkeeping app, they will help them build a track record of their farm operations. What will come next is demonstrating their credit and investment worth to potential financiers.

Public investment will be directed to the local agriculture sector through the P2P microfinance platform, which the Kapitani team is currently working on.

dictionary time: Peer-to-peer (P2P) financing (which is quite similar to crowdfunding) enables individuals to obtain direct loans from other individuals, dispensing with financial institutions as intermediaries. P2P finance sites usually have a wide range of interest rates based on the creditworthiness of the borrower.

Investopedia

The wide range of interest rates may appeal to farmers who are looking for better rates than the banks can offer.

“The long-term goal of Kapitani is to connect farmers who want affordable credit with Malaysians who want to invest in growing food in a simple and transparent way that also empowers local farmers,” the team explained.

“But before we can do that, we need to ensure that farmers are investable by quantifying the risk and return on lending with a systematic record of historical data on farm operation (expenses, activity, production, revenue).”

For Kapitani, the prerequisite for raising funds on their platform is that it can only be used to adopt agricultural technology. Farmers do not need to give up any collateral because these are small loans.

Connecting lenders and recipients

Besides seeing the need to empower local farmers through agricultural technology, the Kapitani team has also seen an increase in the public interest in investing in agriculture.

This is due to the demand for cash crops such as chili peppers, rock melon and cucumbers that can be grown locally but are mostly imported at present.

Inside the Captain App / Image Credit: Captain

They explained the problem: “The opportunity to invest in these crops is limited for ordinary Malaysians due to the high entry barrier in terms of agricultural skills and experience, land requirements, and high initial capital investment.”

For lenders, they can access real-time farm data and farmer credit scores through the Kapitani app which also customizes profit sharing and repayment terms based on the financial health and operation of individual farms.

One risk the team noted though is that agriculture is the sector most affected by climate risks and natural disasters. Hence, they are looking for options to mitigate these risks through crop insurance, and the premiums will be shared by both farmers and microfinance financiers.

Teaching one of their farmers on-site digital bookkeeping / Image Credit: Kapitani

The Kapitani team also made it clear that they want to position the farmers and the public as partners rather than an investor-investor relationship, so the return on investment will be in the form of profit sharing rather than benefit.

“P2P microfinance funders can contact the farms they funded and visit their farms, as this is an important way to build trust and a long-term relationship.”

Giving love to Malaysian chili and ginger

They currently have 100 smallholder farmers helping them test their application, most of which come from their partners Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan Kuala Langat (PPK Kuala Langat), Pewaris Bumi Hijau, Sulaiman Plantations and GM Peladang.

In order to empower local farmers through #SapotLokal Vision / Image Credit: Kapitani

“Most of our users are farmers of ginger and chili. For the record, ginger and chili are the top imported crops, around 80% and 73% serving local consumption in Malaysia. This translates to about RM300 million in imports annually,” the team shared with Vulcan Post .

This is a great opportunity for smallholder farmers because this is the current supply and demand gap in the local market. We just need to make sure that adopting agricultural technology can help local smallholder farmers produce crops that can match the value, price and quality of imported crops.

Capitani team

  • You can learn more about Kapitani Here.
  • You can read more agritech articles we wrote Here.

Featured image credit: Nazrul, Iskandar and Hadi, founders of Kapitani


Like it? Share with your friends!

0

What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
0
hate
confused confused
0
confused
fail fail
0
fail
fun fun
0
fun
geeky geeky
0
geeky
love love
0
love
lol lol
0
lol
omg omg
0
omg
win win
0
win
Mitchel

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *