Ghanaian Agri-tech Startup Farmerline Secures $12.9 million Pre-Series A funding

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Farmerline Group has secured a US$6.4 million Pre-Series A investment and $6.5 million debt to strengthen its supply chain for agribusinesses; reduce the cost of farming, and increase yield for farmers on the continent through the deployment of AI technology and local infrastructure.

The US$6.4 million Pre-Series A investment, led by Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund(ARAF) and FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, is Farmerline’s first equity raise since launching with a US$600 grant almost a decade ago. The other investor of the $6.4 million equity round is Greater Impact Foundation.

Lenders of the $6.5 million debt include DEG, Rabobank, Ceniarth, Rippleworks, Mulago Foundation, Whole Planet Foundation, Netri Foundation and Kiva.

In recent times, Africa’s agribusiness sector has been coined the ‘new oil’ and is predicted to reach US$1 trillion by 2030. But the continent will need eight times more fertiliser and six times more improved seeds to realise its full agricultural potential.

Today, farmers feed one-third of the world and need to increase production by 70% to cater to nine billion people by 2050. Currently, post-harvest losses of food cereals in Sub-Saharan Africa are estimated at $4 billion due to factors such as access to timely agronomic education. Meanwhile, fertiliser use is 14kg per hectare compared to 120kg for their counterparts globally.

Farmerline’s marketplace combines digital tools, logistics, field agents, farm resources and agribusiness partnerships to support African farmers with access to high-quality fertiliser and seeds; free education on climate-smart farming practices; and connections to international markets. The company’s in-house technology platform Mergdata is also licensed by global food traders and manufacturers who use its customisable tools to improve the lives of farmers around the world.

To date, the company has digitised over 1 million farmers through partnerships across 26 countries; employed over 200 people in Ghana; and evolved Mergdata into an AI-powered super-platform for supply chain intelligence like crop yield prediction, fertiliser demand forecasting, product traceability, and Agribusiness credit scoring for asset and fertilizer financing.

Commenting on the new investment, Farmerline’s co-founder and chief executive officer, Alloysius Attah, said, ‘With this new investment, we will scale the AI capabilities within Farmerline’s Mergdata platform to help increase the income of farmers and agribusinesses; supporting them to access farm inputs; supplying them with assets such as tricycles, tractors and threshers; and connecting them to global markets.’

‘This investment is a pivotal moment for our industry and a chance for us all to transform the way we work together as a community to benefit the lives of farmers who currently feed one-third of the world – and will need to increase production by 70% to feed nine billion people in 2050. A dynamic agribusiness sector is crucial to this success,’ he added.

Co-founder and chief operations officer Emmanuel Owusu Addai says: ‘Farmerline’s goal has always been to create lasting wealth for farmers and their communities. To do that at scale, we’re expanding our operations across regions and are actively on the lookout for the best talent to help build an efficient supply chain that saves money for agribusinesses, reduces the cost of farming and the time it takes for people to get services to rural areas. We must ensure that local agribusinesses grow because when they do, we all succeed.

Farmerline will also invest in local infrastructure and logistics to support distribution and accelerate the industry’s marketplace currently across Ghana with plans to deepen relationships with partners in Ivory Coast.’

Source : Business Insider

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