Mali, Senegal



Type of Investment


Project Stage
Length of Investment


Investment Overview

In 2016, GIF provided a $225,000 grant to pilot myAgro’s innovative agricultural savings product with women’s savings groups in Mali.


The Development Challenge

Smallholder farmers make up the majority of the 2 billion people living on less than $2 a day worldwide. Their estimated annual financing need is $450 billion. Only 3% of that need is currently met. In the areas of Mali and Senegal, where myAgro works, the average family has 15 people and is food insecure for 3 months of the year. They traditionally harvest less than a ton of food per hectare. They have the potential to produce 3 to 4 times that amount with access to better seeds, fertilisers, and training.


The Innovation

myAgro offers an integrated package of improved seeds, fertilisers, and training to smallholder farmers, enabling them to increase their incomes. Rather than providing these services on credit, myAgro has pioneered a savings-based approach. Farmers buy “scratch cards” to top up their mobile myAgro account throughout the year, then receive inputs and training at planting time. In 2016, myAgro reached 17,000 farmers in Mali and Senegal, roughly doubling farmers’ incomes. myAgro are aiming to reach 1 million smallholder farmers by 2025. A core part of their scaling plan involves leveraging the existing infrastructure of Village Savings and Loans Groups. Across Africa, there are 12 million farmers in Savings Groups who save small amounts of money on a regular basis. An RCT in Mali found that while the savings groups helped smooth members’ incomes, they did not facilitate productive investments in business or agriculture. myAgro offers these Savings Groups a way to invest their savings in their farms, allowing them to increase their incomes and build a path out of poverty.


Our Investment

A $225,000 grant allowed myAgro to test their mobile layaway approach with 2,000 Savings Group members in Mali. On average, farmers saved $10 for the purchase of improved agricultural services, which allowed them to double their incomes from $34 per 1/16th of a hectare to $72.


Investment Objective

To test whether myAgro’s layaway savings programme can achieve cost efficiencies via integration with Village Savings and Loan Associations.


Why we invested

  • A promising savings-based approach. myAgro has pioneered a mobile layaway product to allow farmers to leverage savings, rather than credit, for investing in their farm productivity.
  • A strong team. Anushka, the founder, had grown her organisation from 240 farmers in 2012, to over 17,000 in 2016.
  • Improving incomes of hard-to-reach farmers. 65% of myAgro’s farmers are women, farming less than ½ a hectare of land. myAgro have shown promise in substantially increasing the net income of these farmers.


myAgro in numbers


GIF grant

1 million

The number of smallholder farmers myAgro aims to reach by 2025


myAgro Impact Brief

myAgro, an award-winning, non-profit social enterprise, pioneered a mobile layaway model that enables farmers – men and women alike – to invest their own funds in high-quality seed, fertiliser, tools, and training to significantly increase their harvests and income. The results are an astounding increase in yields as well as in family income of between 50% and 100%. myAgro’s three-tiered approach includes.
  • Mobile layaway: mobile layaway allows farmers to set aside funds for the inputs they need for their farms. When it is time to buy inputs, they are no longer short on cash.

  • Access to, and delivery of, key agricultural inputs: myAgro delivers seed and input packages within 5kms of each farm. Furthermore, they include vegetable packages with every package to provide alternative revenue streams and boost food security.

  • Tailored technical support: myAgro provides agricultural training specifically designed to increase harvests, including low literacy training materials and training on small-scale mechanisation to reduce labour.

Use of GIF Funds

myAgro received a grant of $225,000 from GIF in 2015 to fund a pilot study to test a variant to its core programme model. The pilot used existing Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) to recruit farmers who were already saving together but did not have productive options for applying their savings. myAgro conducted a trial with 1,824 savings group members in Mali and Senegal with the aim of testing the potential of the model to scale and grow.

Impact to Date

Since 2012, myAgro has proven the power of its approach in Mali, Senegal, and Tanzania by successfully growing from 240 farmers to nearly 90,000 farmers in 2020.

The GIF-funded pilot revealed three potential drivers of improved unit economics through working with VSLAs:

  1. Lowering customer acquisition costs by marketing to existing VSLA groups;

  2. Lowering the cost of serving each farmer in terms of training and delivery of inputs by increasing customer density; and

  3. Increasing the amount that each farmer saves by piggybacking on existing group-savings tools.

Additional results from the GIF-funded pilot showed that myAgro’s mobile layaway model is attractive to farmers and is effective at improving food security and generating higher income for smallholder farmers. Compared to the control farmers, myAgro saving group members fared much better. myAgro female saving group members grew 115% more food than control farmers, and earned $73 in net profit, which is more than a 100% increase over control farm income. myAgro farmers, overall, increased their farm income between 50% and 100%, with an incremental net income increase of $200 per farmer in 2016. myAgro’s impact on farmers also increased with time. Returning farmers saved 27% more than first year farmers, and 10% of returning farmers invested in additional crops like vegetable packages with myAgro.

myAgro’s 2020 impact analysis demonstrated that on average, myAgro farmers grew 78% more and earned $178 more net income than control farmers, representing a 26% increase in income. Additionally, for every philanthropic dollar invested in myAgro’s core programme in Mali and Senegal, myAgro generated $3.57 of social return on investment. For the entire program, including R&D and the pilot in Tanzania, myAgro generated $1.47 of social return on investment for every philanthropic dollar invested.