Farmerline Group, Africa’s Amazon, has raised $6.4 million in pre-Series A funding and $6.5 million debt.
Farmerline plans to use the funds to improve its agribusiness supply chain, reduce farming costs, and increase yield for farmers on the continent by deploying 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. Greater Impact Foundation also participated in the equity round.
To date, the company has digitized 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, fertilizer demand forecasting, product traceability, and Agribusiness credit scoring for asset and fertilizer financing.
Investors included in the $6.5 million debt include DEG, Rabobank, Ceniarth, Rippleworks, Mulago Foundation, Whole Planet Foundation, Netri Foundation and Kiva.
Today, farmers feed one-third of the world and will need to increase production by 70% to cater for 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.
Africa’s agricultural sector has been dubbed the “new oil” in recent years, with forecasted revenues of $1 trillion by 2030. However, to reach its full agricultural potential, the continent will require eight times more fertilizer and six times more better seeds.
Farmerline’s marketplace combines digital tools, logistics, field agents, farm resources, and agribusiness partnerships to provide high-quality fertilizer and seeds, as well as free climate-smart farming instruction and links to worldwide markets, to African farmers.
Mergdata, the company’s in-house technology platform, is also licensed by global food traders and producers, who utilize its customised solutions to help farmers all over the world.
“At the peak of the pandemic, local agricultural SMEs played a vital role in ensuring food security – supporting farmers; supplying agricultural inputs; and distributing to final consumers,” 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.”
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.
“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,” Addai said.
Tamer El-Raghy, managing director of ARAF, said he was honoured to co-lead the investment, and excited to partner with world-class Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
“Farmerline’s technology platform helps smallholder farmers adapt to climate change by increasing their income and reducing their income volatility by providing them with access to inputs and markets while helping them adapt sustainable and climate smart practices which perfectly fits ARAF’s investment strategy. This is an invaluable addition to ARAF’s portfolio and we look forward to supporting Farmerline’s local and regional growth,” he said.