Agri startup lets individuals invest in local farmers

Image via farmboxonline.com

Farm Box, a social enterprise that helps local farmers by allowing individuals to invest in boxes of their farming essentials, emerged as the winner at Globe Business’ Hack-It-On competition. The start-up received P200,000 worth of prizes, including P100,000 in GCash, and marketing support from Globe.

Through Farm Box, farmers with no savings and no collateral won’t have to depend on loan sharks, said John Lester C. Mendoza, co-founder and chief executive officer, at the Hack-It-On media roundtable on Thursday.

Its website allows individuals to invest in farm boxes containing essentials that farmers need, as well as buy their produce. The Farm Box team used Application Programming Interface (API) technology, specifically “Charging API,” to include channels like mobile load or online banking as payment gateways.

“Payment gateways were a problem so we sought additional methods, and Globe Business provided API to help us deliver,” said Mr. Mendoza, who shared that customers initially complained of the hassle using Google Forms and traditional payment methods.

Fifty ICT (information and communications technology) initiatives competed for a month, identifying pain points and devising digital solutions that used Globe Labs’ APIs before Globe Business chose the winner at an awards ceremony with their partners, the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) and the Philippine Computer Society (PSC). Globe Labs is the developer arm of Globe Telecom.

“Through API solutions, businesses can make use of our enormous infrastructure to reach more people, improve customer engagement, and streamline operations to scale,” said Nicola Ebrada, the InfoComm Industry marketing lead of Globe Business’ micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) group. “Our mission is to continue to provide transformative insights and solutions that will solve pressing challenges that will allow our local MSMEs to thrive.” — Bronte H. Lacsamana