Kyrgyz farmers use gamification to raise money, awareness

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A farming cooperative in Kyrgyzstan is using an online virtual farm to bring organic produce closer to city people, and to share the brunt of investment in Kyrgyzstan’s volatile economic climate between customers and farmers.

Real-life Farmville

The project, called MBF Farm, lets users use a plot of land on one of the participating farms by logging into the site and creating their own virtual farm, like in the popular videogame Farmville.

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After buying vegetable seeds and selecting a patch, the farm hand designated to the rented plot of land goes to work growing the real vegetables of the virtual farmer.

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You can invest in livestock as well! Once the food is ready for consumption, it gets delivered straight to the virtual farmer’s home.

Helping Kyrgyz farmers

By buying the food before it is grown, the virtual farmers share the risk when something goes wrong with the crops, but they also provide much-needed starting capital in Kyrgyzstan’s cash-strapped economy. With loan rates as high as 30%, starting or expanding a business is a costly affair. Reducing the cost of financing is one of the aims of the project. As a bonus, clients get their food at the original price, without added costs of intermediaries, and are not subjected to volatile prices at the market.

Organic food guaranteed

The farming community works together with agronomists to ensure a good harvest: they guarantee strictly organic food.

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You can follow up what’s happening with your chickens or salad at any time – the website encourages you to get to know who’s tending to your crops and interact with them. By cultivating a sense of ownership with the virtual farmers, the founders hope to raise awareness of the importance of organic food, raise the profile of agriculture in Kyrgyzstan and enable all Kyrgyz people to have access to tasty, healthy food.

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