Over 33% of Bangladeshis are without a bank account and a large percentage of those are farmers. Many grow their own food, with the excess produce sometimes wasted or sold to middlemen at lower prices, leaving the farmers with no savings, no security and no hope for a better future.
So how do you get farmers to save money and get fair prices? By implementing the world’s first initiative that transforms fresh fruits and vegetables into bank accounts -AgroBanking.
United Commercial Bank (UCB) one of Bangladesh’s largest banks, collaborated with local retail giant Shwapno, and Grey Group Bangladesh to find a solution. They launched an initiative in the village of Barinagar, located in the Jessore District of Bangladesh, to let the farmers know that excess produce can be turned into future savings.
According to Grey, in just one day, over 200 farmers signed up and thronged to the village market with their produce. They handed it over at one of the AgroBanking stations where it was bought at Shwapno’s fair price list and the income from the farmers’ sales was deposited directly into free, UCB mobile micro saving accounts.
Shwapno then picked up the produce, transported and sold it through their vast network of retail outlets. Through AgroBanking, UCB provides low-income farmers with bank accounts, income and a chance to build credit history while Shwapno provides farmers with fair prices without a middleman, and its customers with exploitation-free, fresh and organic produce.
The idea has been a huge success in Bangladesh, said Grey and will be rolled out nationwide by UCB and Shwapno. Excess agro-goods that were once wasted can now help solve a problem, nationwide.
United Commercial Bank Ltd (UCB)
GREY Group Bangladesh