Remember the time when everyone was hooked on Farmville? The game was so popular that it was impossible to log onto Facebook without getting invitations to play or requests for help from your friends. Time even named the game one of the 50 Worst Inventions, just because of its sheer addictiveness. “The most addictive of Facebook games is hardly even a game — it's more a series of mindless chores on a digital farm, requiring the endless clicking of a mouse to plant and harvest crops,” Dan Fletcher wrote.
In 2014 Teodulo Otoman II of Sproads Website Solution thought of making this mindless game into something more meaningful, by turning it into a crowdfunding tool for real farmers. Thus FarmOn.ph was born.
The way it works is that when you sign up, you get access to a virtual farming interface similar to Farmville. The difference is that when you buy seeds or livestock, you pay real money and real farmers will plant the crops that you choose. When the crops are harvested and sold, you get a return on your investment.
For this reason, you can’t just sign up at any time—memberships become available only at the beginning of each cycle. After you sign up, you can then choose farms and products to fund. This helps farmers in the sense that it gives them a regular source of capital at the start of each planting season. “We have helped them and have guided them in finding the right markets for the products they produce,” FarmOn.ph explains on its website. “We provide them with advance methodologies and techniques (to further enrich the knowledge and enhance the skills of our farmers) which were introduced and developed by those who are dedicated to the craft.”
Last year, rumors of FarmOn.ph being a scam spread around the Internet after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published an advisory declaring that the company was not registered with the commission. Since then, FarmOn.ph has registered with the SEC and posted their certificate on their website, along with their DTI, BIR, and Mayor’s permits.
In spite of the controversy, the company still appears to be going on strong. It is now on its 16th cycle—registration was open until November this year, and real-time farming begins in January 2018.
This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.