We believe that farmers play an indispensable part in our country, and we also believe that agriculture has been significantly damaged during this pandemic, not just as a result of quarantine regulations but also of natural calamities, climate change, and the following issues. According to our research, here in the Philippines, the proposed budget for 2022 of the Department of Agriculture was 250 billion pesos, but only 91 billion was approved. [1] Even though the GDP had grown in the agriculture sector, the budget allocation was not prioritized. Furthermore, there are also policies in the government that convert farmlands into commercial spaces. [2] In addition to that, there is a reopened investigation issue in customs regarding smuggled fruits and vegetables, that greatly affects the agricultural sector. [3] [4]

Moreover, due to a lack of capital, farmers are unable to utilize the lands they possess, causing a hindrance in production. Especially when typhoon decimates as the Philippines suffers an average of 20 typhoons per year, not to mention pests. The country’s 10.8 million farmers are the second poorest industry after fishermen. Many are tenant tillers who share their harvest with landowners and go into debt to pay for seeds, fertilizer, and pest control [5]. These farmers shy away from applying for bank loans due to multiple factors such as the required collateral, which limits the amount of loans that they need.

An alternative to bank loans is a crowdfunding model, which attracts farmers by removing the collateral from the equation and reducing the other factors that are necessary for applying for loans. In a usual farm investment setup, these would require an enormous amount of capital which increases an investor's risk, while in crowdfunding, multiple investors typically provide fewer amounts thus reducing their risk. By creating this application, we are putting a safety vest to these farmers, and making their presence known in their low visibility situation.

Invest in agriculture, A Green Vest.

A Green Vest is an application that rallies support for our local farmers. It is a crowdfunding and investment mobile application. By investing in our farmers, they can utilize the funds for seeds, fertilizer, and pest control, or even an upgrade of agricultural tools and machines to increase the quality of the crops for better sales.

What it does

The fundraisers can view various statistics on the farm, and crop trends which will help them decide on the direction of their investments. Their investments can be used for the farmer's capital where they will profit from the sales. Additionally, users can also earn by donating; in donating to the farmers, they have an option to select if they want a percentage of their donation to be put to investment using cryptocurrency. A Green Vest will invest the chosen percentage to various crypto tokens in the Ethereum Network. The user will then be notified of the earnings in real time through the app dashboard. For user retention, A Green Vest will promote gamification by introducing monthly goals, which will feature a chosen farm, its details, and crops; for example, if they hit the target number of investors, a user can get a chance to win a tour of the farm or, direct produce from the farm like fruits and vegetables, discount coupons or other forms of incentives.

As for the farmers, after successful registration, they will be eligible to apply for fundraising, they can also monitor and track growth analysis, crop trends, and more importantly, the investments on their farms. Each registered farmer can also have a chance to be highlighted for the monthly goals in the gamification feature.

For the security of the funds, and to protect investors from scam groups, documents from Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), and a CIC number, along with a valid government ID are needed from the farmers to prove legitimacy. Moreover, A Green Vest does not always guarantee earnings, as cryptocurrencies are volatile, and the value of a token may vary depending on the crypto market trend. As for the farm and investment updates, A Green Vest team will conduct weekly and monthly interviews with the registered farmers and update information in the application, to ensure that the investments are made to respective use.

How we built it

Through a series of ideation sessions, the team, made up of four Filipinos and one Indian Finastra Finstarters, established that tackling a problem on the agriculture sector is a commonality.

Challenges we ran into

We are a team of August FinStarters from different teams and time zones. The main challenge for us is finding a common time to collaborate and share ideas, solutions, and suggestions. Additionally, we are not that knowledgeable about agriculture.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud that we had a chance to collaborate with a colleague from Finastra India, even though all of us are new joiners, and we’re proud that we gained a lot of knowledge about agriculture through extensive research and with that we were able to develop an application that will help boost and grow the agricultural sector.

We are also proud that we won the Finastra Manila Hackathon last April 7, 2022.

What we learned

Camaraderie, teamwork, and time management. We learned that even though we’re new in Finastra, it isn’t an impediment to join events as big as this Hackathon.

What's next for A Green Vest

If given the chance and opportunity, the team would like to pursue the actualization of this project. The solution, A Green Vest, will make use of existing technologies like Flutter so that it would be a cross-platform mobile application, to be inclusive to all farmers and fundraisers. In addition to that, we will also make use of Machine Learning models and AI, to track the growth rate of farms and current crop trends. Lastly, A Green Vest can be scalable and can attend to other countries by tapping into their government for the database of their farmers. A Green Vest, in the future, can cater not only to farmers but also to fishermen, foresters and the like. We plan to make this application open to all sub-sectors of Agriculture.

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