“Agriculture is at the center of wealth creation” said Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, President of African Development Bank in an interview with CTA’s Spore.In the last 30 years, agriculture has taken the back seat of the economy in Africa while non-renewable mineral resources like gold, crude oil, diamond has taken the front seat. But since 2010, some really amazing changes haves occurred in the agricultural sector with the help of technology of course. Agriculture to some extent looks “cool” now but before it looked cool some people had to do the work to make it look that way. Technology is really changing the world and agriculture is not excluded as venture capitalists are funding a number of Agritech Start-ups. Some of these companies have nothing to do with production, they are simply just filling a gap in the value chain while some are actively involved in production. In today’s post we would be looking at the top five agritech companies in Africa. We made it five because they were just too irresistible and we couldn’t let go of even one. So here we go
- We Farm: The idea of We Farm was born in 2015 by a perceived need to enrich the knowledge of farmers who have no idea on methods and practices to use in order to reduce loss of yield. But it is interesting to know that WeFarm was originally based in London and when the need to develop and AI-powered learning and knowledge sharing platform came, they took it. After a seed funding of $6.6Million they got on track. This knowledge-based SMS cloud is currently in use by 1.6 Million small scale farmers across African countries, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania. The knowledge sharing cloud works via SMS by matching questions and answers by various farmers like how to control erosion in a coffee farm. Currently, there have been 3.8 million questions asked and then 8.6 million questions answered.
Aerobotics: If you have never heard the word Geospatial intelligence, well you are about to. Geospatial intelligence is just studying events in a spatiotemporal environment and transforming the data generated into something readable which can be used to make decisions. After receiving funding of $ 2.7 Million in funding, this company developed a precision farming technique that that helps detect pest and disease detection in vineyards and orchards with the aid of drones and satellites imaging to monitor crops. It is more fascinating when you find out that you can view each tree individually for inspection. Data collected from these trees include: the health status of the plant, the plant height and the presence of any disease whatsoever and farmers employ the use of the app with GPS coordinates to locate the individual trees with problems. Basic services that Aerobotics offer are free, but if a farmer is going to use drone monitoring.He would be charged $3 per acre per month.
Iprocure: We particularly like Iprocure because they do something related to post harvest handling. After rising $1 million Dollars in Venture Capital, they set out to provide a multifacet market intelligence platform for supply chain management, thereby monitoring sales prices in remote areas and supplying inbuilt mobile payments. And the favorite part is that they provide warehousing with the aid of predictive algorithms to ensure that essential commodities never go out of supply. They also use geo-locating purchase pattern in real time, which in turn offers loyalty program and discounted prices to farmers.
FarmCrowdy: Nigeria’s very own AgFintech was founded in 2016 with $1.4 million Dollars. Farmcrowdy which is collaborative food production company, links sponsors with farmers. The sponsors have a list of varieties of which package they wish to go for. They include: Crops, Poultry and dairy. This provides farmers with some sort of credit that they use to acquire input and also expand to further increase food production and ensure that sponsors get their money along with an ROI. We think for Farmcrowdy, it’s a win-win.
Future Pump: The reason we at Farmtrybe chose future pump to be at the heart of this list was because of the issue of lack of water facing the African Continent. With all the natural resources present, water is still a problem and Future pump decided to step in and do the work. This company was founded in 2011 with undisclosed seed fund. To make future pump work, the farmer would have to make a one-off investment by buying a surface pump which could suck up shallow water at a rate of 2.1lt/sec to give to the surrounding lands.
To end this, Africa is a really place filled with so much potential and even if we are not there yet at this rate we would definitely get there.