Linking farmers to investors

Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times

An online agricultural investment market designed to connect responsible farmers with responsible investors is set to launch its pilot program next month.

Founded by three passionate country kids Bennet Forrester, Demi Robinson and Mark Sadler, Catel is an agriculture fintech business creating an online marketplace that links farmers to investors.

“Bennet worked in rural finance and understood that a lot of farmers were in heavy debt and their only option to continue farming was to continue going into debt to fund their operations,” Mr Sadler said.

“By Catel providing this alternative capital-raising opportunity to farmers, we endeavour to put more money back in the farmers’ pocket.”

How it works is farmers list their agricultural assets alongside a profile of themselves and anyone around the world can invest in their operation and have an equity share in it.

“The idea behind it is to give farmers an opportunity to promote their story and what they do on a daily basis whilst allowing them to be more profitable,” Mr Sadler said.

“For example, people can invest in tangible farm products such as a hectare of grain or a portion of cattle.”

Mr Sadler said it had become increasingly clear there was a social disconnect between farmers and the general community.

“We’re hoping this will provide an opportunity to young, aspiring farmers to get into farming or step foot into the agricultural industry,” he said.

The pilot program is set to start in September and will run over four weeks mimicking the commercialised version.

“So far we have about 10 farmers on board which is ideal,” he said.

“After the four weeks we are hoping to validate our data, the concepts and then get ready to raise money to go into commercialisation in 2021.”

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