Farmerline, a Ghanaian agritech startup has secured $1.5 million in equity funding from Oikocredit in its second close of its pre-Series A round. Following this new funding, the total amount raised in the pre-Series A round stands at $14.4 million, with the inclusion of $6.4 million in debt. The startup’s other equity investors include Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund (ARAF), FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, and Greater Impact Foundation.
The latest funding coincides with the startup’s expansion move into Ivory Coast. There are also plans for the Ghana-based startup to expand across the whole of West Africa.
Farmerline was founded by Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai back in 2013, and provides farmers with access to high-quality supplies such as fertilizers and seeds, via partnerships with agro-dealers. Partner retailers, on the other hand, employ Farmerline’s proprietary AI technology platform called Mergdata to digitalize farmers that they serve, generate data needed to predict the demand for farm supplies, perform supply chain intelligence, and present stock-outs.
Commenting on the latest development, co-founder and CEO Alloysius Attah said in a statement that “With the support of Oikocredit alongside our first-round funders, our distribution, logistics, and financing services will continue not only in Ghana but also in Ivory Coast where we’ve recently begun the process of expanding our team.”
He had previously announced Farmerline’s plans to expand its physical infrastructures like warehouses and distribution networks. This, he said would make Farmerline a marketplace that enables quicker movements of supplies to and fro rural areas. Its logistics network was being expanded to particularly support farmers’ access to markets. This would promote a reduction in losses and wastage, and increase farmers’ income.
Farmerline, following the latest funding, will be reinforcing its supply chain for agribusiness. This will reduce the cost of farming as well as drastically increase the yield of African farmers. This will be made possible via the deployment of AI technology and the provision of local infrastructure. “As fertilizer prices more than quadruple and the conflict in Ukraine compounds global food security challenges, this investment is crucial,” Farmerline emphasized.
Farmerline hopes to reach 300,000 farmers by the end of this year. Compare to last year when it doubled its direct reach to 79,000 farmers, up from 36,000 in 2020 and 8,000 in 2019, it would mean a 400 percent increase. The startup claims to have financed around $18 million worth of input and crops through franchise shop alliances with agribusinesses and input dealers so far.
“The harmful impact of rocketing fertilizer costs on smallholder farmers in Africa is clear. With our investment in Farmerline, we are supporting those most affected by the price volatility. Our investments in the agriculture sector are at the core of Oikocredit’s work as a social impact investor, and we have already identified synergies with other portfolio companies. We are thrilled to support Farmerline Group and smallholder communities across Ghana and Ivory Coast,” Oikocredit’s equity officer, Mila Georgieva, said.