Just as innovations in digital farming technology are helping smallholder farmers around the world produce more crops and feed their community, the African Innovation circle is currently witnessing the beauty of digital innovation through FarmCrowdy, same has been the story of farmcrowdy in Nigeria.
Founded in 2016 by Onyeka Akumah and co-founded with Akindele Phillips, Tope Omotolani, Jimoh Maiyegun and Ifeanyi Anazodo. Farmcrowdy is a Nigeria’s first digital agriculture platform that aimed at connecting farm sponsors with real farmers in order to increase food production while promoting youth participation in Agriculture.
They are revolutionizing the local agriculture sector by connecting small-scale farmers with Nigerian sponsors from locally, from the US and UK who invest in farm cycles. Launched in 2016, they connect small-scale farmers with sponsors, who invest in farm cycles which can be anything from poultry [3-5 months] to cassava [9 months]. The farmers receive on-the-ground advice and training from agriculture experts in better agricultural practices, the different type of crops and production methods. Farmers and sponsors all receive a percentage of the profits from the harvest.
How FarmCrowdy Works
Farmcrowdy connects small-scale farmers with sponsors, who invest in farm cycles which can be anything from poultry [3-5 months] to cassava [9 months]. The farmers receive on-the-ground advice and training from agriculture experts in better agricultural practices, the different type of crops and production methods. Farmers and sponsors all receive a percentage of the profits from the harvest.
Farm sponsors can choose to sponsor a variety of farm types including cassava, maize, rice, soybeans and poultry (broiler chickens for meat); with cycles lasting between three to nine months depending on the farm. Farm sponsorships start from N96,000, and Farmcrowdy coordinates pre-arranged buyers to sell the farm harvest when the cycle is complete. The farm profit from the harvest is then split between the sponsors who receive 40 percent of the harvest profits plus their original sponsorship, while the farmers receive returns of 40 percent and Farmcrowdy gains 20 percent of the profits.
By connecting more than 2,000 small-scale farmers with over 1,000 unique sponsors through the website and app channels, Farmcrowdy has built a community model that allows Nigerians to venture into farming and agriculture at the touch of a button while empowering local farmers and boosting production and security of food for Nigeria. The startup is not only positively impacting the lives of local farmers and their families, but making a profit for farm sponsors and investors.
The platform gives Nigerians the opportunity to participate in Agriculture by selecting the kind of farms they want to sponsor. They use the sponsor’s funds to secure the land, engage the farmer, plant the seeds, ensure the farmers and farm produce, complete the full farming cycle, sell the harvest and then pay the farm sponsor a return on their sponsorship. While this farm process is ongoing, the farm sponsors are able to keep track of the full-cycle by getting updates in text, pictures, and videos.
Farmcrowdy’s revenue model operates on a split system for sponsorships: principal plus 40 percent for sponsors, 40 percent for farmers, and 20 percent for Farmcrowdy. For example, if an investor sponsored a maize farm for 6 months at $1000 and at harvest the produce sold for $1500, the sponsor would regain their investment ($1000) plus 40 percent of profits ($600), the farmer $600 (40 percent), and Farmcrowdy $300 (20 percent).
As of now, thousands of investors and small-scale farmers are making real incomes as a result of Farmcrowdy technology model where investors can now run a farm remotely with this new platform. With the regular updates, images and farm videos, investors won’t find a better way to appreciate farming without soiling their hands with Farmcrowdy app tech.
The agritech platform has offered a new way for Nigerians to participate in agriculture using online technology and making a decent profit. Farmcrowdy’s service is not difficult but very simple. Nigerians can commit an agreed sum to own a minimum farm space, start and complete a farming cycle and make a decent profit.
Farmcrowdy Impact and Strides
Farmcrowdy has worked with 3,000 farmers in the last 16 months as against one farmer when it started operations in 2016. The company has done about 500,000 acres of maize, 200,000 acres of rice and 125,000 acres of soybeans with farmers.
As graduates of TechStars Atlanta’s 2017 cohort, Farmcrowdy has raised $1 Million seed investment round from Cox Enterprises, Techstars Ventures, Social Capital, Hallett Capital and Right-Side Capital; as well as angel investors Tyler Scriven, Michael Cohn, Josephine Group, FC Agro Allied SPV and Dr. Christof Walter
The Startup was recognized as one of the BusinessDay’s Top 25 Most Innovative Companies & Institutions in Nigeria and was recently awarded Tech Start-up of the Year 2017 at Nigerian Technology Awards. It was also recognized by the President Buhari Administration with the honor of National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award.
This week, we choose to spotlight FarmCrowdy and how they are solving a key problem across the Agricultural Value Chain as we all work to make Africa the food basket of the world.
TechGist Africa’s #StartUpSpotlight focuses on beaming the light on emerging businesses providing solutions to the most resilient socio-economic problems in Africa.