iFarmer and SWAP: Turning Trash to Treasure
Every year, the e-waste generated by Bangladesh has an immense impact on the environment. What if the things we don't need anymore could be used by someone who needs it? What if it could create a larger impact? What if our trash could be turned into treasure?
We live in a world with two segments— The Haves and the Have-nots. As we progress, creating a bridge between the two is really important. It is the responsibility of the Haves to be there for the Have-nots. Thankfully, organizations are being created who help bridge the gap. Such two organizations are iFarmer, an agri-tech company, and SWAP, a re-commerce platform. iFarmer is a technology company that helps small and marginal farmers get the assistance they need. It provides a variety of services for farmers, including financing, agricultural assistance, insurance, consulting services and market access to sell produce at a fair rate.
On the other hand, SWAP is a platform where people can exchange, buy or sell unused products. So, let's say someone does not want their current phone, they can go to SWAP and exchange it for cash or some other products. By doing this, the product will not end up in trash cans but be used by someone who needs it, hence, reducing e-waste.
iFarmer recently partnered with SWAP with the target to build an end-to-end circular economy and turning e-waste into treasure for farmers of Bangladesh. How would that work?
Imagine this: Karim is thinking about switching his mobile phone and he comes across SWAP. While browsing he realizes that he can swap his existing phone with other products but something interesting catches his eye. He gets to know that his unwanted phone can be used for something even better. On his screen he sees that by using his unwanted phone or by directly giving cash, he can fund small holder farmers in Bangladesh and get a lucrative return after a period. Karim wants to know more.
Through SWAP's collaboration with iFarmer, users will be able to fund farms and get lucrative returns after a period, in exchange for their unwanted or unused items. That fund through iFarmer will directly go to farmers in need. So, something that is unwanted on the customer's part can help play a pivotal role in reducing e-waste by selling to a needy person through SWAP and the proceeds can be invested or utilized in the augmentation of the financial condition of our low-income level farmers.
When Karim decides against throwing away his current phone, and rather exchange it for farm funding, the product will not end up in trash cans, rather be used by someone who needs it. On the other hand, the fund in his name will be helping rural farmers with agricultural input, advisory and to sell those products to the market. When farmers cultivate their produce with the help of Karim's funding, that is the point in time when his trash gets turned into treasure. His simple act of not throwing away his phone, creates a spillover effect. It creates a cycle where the unwanted items of the Haves, through a structured system helps the Have-nots. One simple decision spills over from reducing e-waste in the country to changing the lives of farmers all over Bangladesh. The new journey of iFarmer and SWAP shows promise for a brighter and sustainable future.