Ghana’s Esoko Networks Limited (“Esoko”), a technology platform that connects African farmers to markets via mobile phones has raised a $1.5 million aggregate equity and debt investment from Acumen and the Lundin Foundation to support the company’s expansion into East Africa as well as software and services development.
Built in Ghana, Esoko gives farmers up-to-date market prices, offers, climate adaptation advice and agronomic tips that are expected to lead to improvements in yield and increased incomes, enables businesses to profile farmers, track field activities and transactions, and market their products and services. It also allows agri-business, NGOs, development finance institutions, governments and mobile network operators to profile and provide specific content as well as survey farmers to better understand their needs.
“Promoting commercial linkages and introducing market transparency will transform African agriculture” says Mark Davies, CEO of Esoko, “We’re at the forefront of using technology to facilitate this great transformation in human wealth and productivity. We are thrilled and honored to partner with Acumen and the Lundin Foundation to bring our mobile platform to organizations and farmers across Africa.”
Acumen has invested over $24 million in agricultural enterprises and has a deep knowledge of small-holder farmers’ needs and behaviors and nearly $8 million across West Africa since 2011.
Godfrey Mwindaare, West Africa Director at Acumen, adds, “There are a tremendous amount of resources already focused on small-holder farmers. We see in Esoko the potential to empower and transform the lives of rural farmers by providing one point of access to critical information and services, thereby closing the information asymmetry gap between commercial, well-endowed farmers and the rural, one-acre farmer.”
Founded in 2005, the Lundin Foundation is a philanthropic organization that provides seed grants, risk capital and technical / managerial assistance to high potential small- and medium-sized businesses in agriculture, access to energy, and financial inclusions, with a view to generating wealth and employment needed to alleviate poverty on a sustained basis. To date, the Foundation has made investment commitments of over $50mn in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Anna Samaké, Portfolio Manager for West and Central Africa for the Lundin Foundation, commented, “One of the Lundin Foundation’s primary objectives in West Africa is to build and support the agri-business sector with an ecosystem of services that will allow sustainable and profitable SMEs to emerge and grow. Many of those services will be available through the Esoko platform.”