Winter is coming! So goes the popular saying from the Game of Thrones series that has held the entire movie world spellbound. In that series, the unexpected happens at every turn. There is so much unraveling of friendships and loyalties. The result is all sorts of carnage and the flow of blood. But, enough with the winter of Game of Thrones. I want to talk about a different kind of winter that is upon us; the winter of income inequality.
Income inequality is a grave evil winter that is upon us. The gap between the haves and have nots’ keeps widening all over the world. More than ever before, it paints the reality of increasing income inequality. And we are accosted by that reality every day. From the increased number of beggars, itinerant and “professional beggars” included, limited access to quality education and health facilities. These are people who live in conditions of extreme poverty. These are cases that are both well known and documented. They are people who live on under $1 a day. While that is scary, what is even scarier is the shrinking of the middle class in Nigeria. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, “20% of the richest Nigerians got 46.3% of the National Income in 2016”. The “poorest of the poor” in the population consumed 2.56% of goods an services.
A living income between $4 and $20 per day is what characterizes the Nigerian middle class. As of 2005, they made up 23% of the total population of Nigeria. This is according to the statistic from the African Development Bank. But that class has seen a rapid decline in size since 2005. The middle class has traditionally been a buffer between the poor and the rich. A shrinking middle class means that there is a limted flow of income across the divide between rich and poor. A shrinking middle class also means that more people are sliding into conditions of extreme poverty, exacerbating income inequality.
Today, middle-income class Nigerians need alternative sources of income to meet the oversized expenses they face on a monthly basis. Lots of family dependencies, school fees payments, maintenance of automobiles, and rents for accommodations are what middle-income Nigerians face. Some of them create side hustles to support their lifestyles.
But not everyone has the time or disciplined enough to support a side hustle. No, not with the limited time available to them. A lot of people try to find investments they can put their monies in as an alternative. Let’s face it, you are more likely to be penalized by banks for saving your money than spending that. That is the sad reality of our country. Yes, save your money and have all sorts of deductions hit you! But most investment products are out of their reach in terms of investment ticket sizes. And when they see very ridiculously cheap investments, they turn out most often than not to be Ponzi schemes. We started Efarms with the Nigerian middle class, for whom we provide a platform to grow their income streams.
Efarms is an agricultural-focused fintech company. Our specialty is providing people with disposable income and corporate organizations the platform to invest their funds. Beyond providing alternative income to our investors; we deliver to them a triple bottom line. While making money, they are able to help empower farmers and strengthen the economy of Nigeria. Our peer to peer investment platform, www.efarms.com.ng enables us to make finance work for smallholder farmers. At the same time, we are creating new sources of income for Nigerians. You can find more insights about our work here. When you visit www.efarms.com.ng, you would see how we have empowered smallholder farmers. But you would also see how we have transformed Nigeria’s economy through our past projects.
Efarms at its heart sees itself as an equal opportunity investment platform. We are always developing products that would make investing affordable to everyone. We want to democratize investments by making it possible for everyone to invest regardless of income levels. That is why we developed PAYE, an initiative that allows clients to invest in two installments. This is despite having one of the lowest minimum investment sizes in the “Agfintech” Industry. And that is why we would not stop innovating. No, we won’t! Not until anybody anywhere can invest in the Nigerian agricultural sector, regardless of income level or location. We are committed to pulling more people out of the clutches of poverty, smallholder farmer and low-income investor alike; one person at a time.