Dear GKD Members,

A Nigerian farmer has asked for advice (because he knows I can get
information from the Internet and he is now in a position to exchange
emails with me). I am directing this request for information to the GKD
List for two reasons:

1) Because it is a practical example of the kind of thing the GKD List
addresses - the use of ICTs for development, access to and use of
information resources by the poor in rural areas, access to information
and knowledge throughout developing countries.

2) Because someone might genuinely be able to help by pointing me in the
direction of the information that the farmer needs.

This is the farmer's situation.
He has more land than he can cultivate, even with the help of his family
members. He has taken part in various training schemes for farmers
organised locally. These have involved the training agencies using a
tractor on his farm. He has plans to develop his farm and wants to buy
his own second hand tractor. (I understand that when he was younger and
doing military service he was a mechanic.) He has been saving and is
reaching a point where he needs advice about the purchase.

This is what he has done so far.
In his village there is a scheme whereby people save some money each
month. I don't understand exactly how it works, but it seems as if each
month everyone in the scheme pays in, and someone in the scheme reaches
the point of leaving the scheme and taking out that month's money. He
has been paying into this scheme for some time, in order to make a down
payment towards a second-hand tractor. Then he plans to continue paying
it off, at least at the same rate that he has been paying into the
savings scheme. (He has told me the amounts involved).

This is his problem and information need.
This month it will be his turn to get the payout of the money, but he 
has not yet found the best way to buy a second-hand tractor. He needs to 
know urgently so he can use the money for the purpose he has been saving 
it. If he does not spend the money quickly towards the tractor then he 
will not be able to keep hold of his savings. In his community everyone 
knows everyone's business, so all his extended family will know that he 
has "come into this money". This means that they will soon be coming to 
him with all their financial needs and he will not be able to refuse 
them. Does anyone know how to help him to use his savings to start to 
purchase a tractor and improve his farm, as he has been trained to do?

Pam McLean
CawdNet -- using the Internet on behalf of rural communities in Africa

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