During monsoon season in Indonesia, farms can get destroyed, leaving small farmers with zero income. Without an income, they can’t buy the seeds and fertiliser necessary to get back on their feet. Getting a loan often isn’t an option as the documents can take months, and sometimes after that wait, it’ll come back that the land title isn’t clear and they’re unable to borrow any money. This forces farmers to turn to predatory and expensive loan sharks to make ends meet. Blockchain may offer the potential for building previously impossible solutions.
HARA is an informational exchange platform that links farmers, financial institutions, data service providers and retailers. The platform allows farmers access credit, lets retailers sell more goods and services and gives financial groups the ability to understand their agriculture clients.
HARA helps farmers develop an online identity hosted on the blockchain and based on their already existing paper ID documents. Local field agents then encourage the farmers to collect data points about their farms, such as the location and size of their land, their plantings and their harvests. The platform is built on Ethereum, so users can build smart contracts, trace different transactions and validate owner rights.
The hope is that the app will not only help farmers stay in better financial shape but that it also will help develop more precise agriculture practises, practises such as when to water your crops and when to plant them.
The farmers using the software have the right to decide what information they want to share with HARA. The data is used to help farmers make better decisions. Using the platform allows them to have a clear and registered claim to their land. Having a digital ID makes the process of applying for loans much simpler. Essentially, HARA is giving an existence to these farmers that they didn’t have previously.
Instead of just thrusting this platform to farmers and not educating them on its uses and benefits, HARA is helping to teach farmers what value their data holds, and how they can use it for their own profit and enlightenment. The company values transparency and tells farmers who they’re selling their data to and for what reason. Farmers are then rewarded with points that can be used to purchase useful products like fertiliser and seeds.
Having an online reputation also allows these farmers to enter the financial market from a place of power, not vulnerability, eliminating the need for business dealings with loan sharks.
In Sri Lanka, Etherisc are working with Oxfam and Aon to develop insurance propositions for farmers to cover their crops against extreme weather-related losses. Their use of weather data and decentralized risk-pools aims to automate the claims processes, making crop insurance an accessible and effective security. “In the longer term, we hope will be able to impact as many as 800,000 farmers in Sri Lanka and expand our experience to other countries.”