Ghanaian agritech company Complete Farmer has raised $10.4 million in a pre-Series A funding round ($7 million equity and $3.4 million debt) in a bid to transform farming practices in Africa, Tech Crunch reports.
The funding round saw the participation of Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund (ARAF) and Alitheia Capital (via its uMunthu II Fund in partnership with Goodwell Investments). Also, Proparco, Newton Partners, and VestedWorld Rising Star Fund participated in the funding round. On the other hand, Sahel Capital’s SEFAA (Social Enterprise Fund for Agriculture in Africa) Fund, Alpha Mundi Group’s Alpha Jiri Investment Fund, and Global Social Impact Investments provided debt financing.
“We have been impressed with the progress that Complete Farmer has made in facilitating access to global trade for Ghanaian farmers, as well as introducing them to new crops and sustainable farming practices,” Tamer El-Raghy, the managing director of ARAF, says of the investment. “Complete Farmer’s technology platform and farming protocols enable farmers to access quality inputs, agronomical support and premium markets, resulting in improved yields and income as reported by the farmers themselves.”
Complete Farmer is an “end-to-end agricultural marketplace” that connects African “producers and global industries to competitive markets, resources, data and each other”, according to Tech Crunch.
In other words, the agritech has “always been envisioned to be an end to end platform for the three key stakeholders on the agriculture value chain, food growers, food buyers, and food lovers,” it says on its website.
The company was launched in 2017 and has since undergone several iterations before its current state. It was founded by Desmond Koney, a mechanical engineer by training with prior experience in several projects. One of his projects was converting kitchen organic refuse into methane gas and a vertical farming venture. However, his interest shifted to agriculture after inheriting his father’s farm, where he found several challenges widespread throughout the value chain, he says to Tech Crunch.
“My area of expertise was in production engineering, and I desired to digitize my father’s property,” he tells Tech Crunch. “However, this aspiration can be vague, as one must determine what business model works, what the product is, etc. We’ve had to make several adjustments to determine both.”
Complete Farmer first started functioning as a contractor to cultivate farms for clients. However, in 2018, the group launched a crowdfunding campaign to allow users to invest in sustainable farms and monitor agricultural activities. It then transitioned to an aggregator and marketplace model and today, it has brought together over 12,000 farmers across five key regions in Ghana.
It has also supervised the cultivation of more than 30,000 acres of land, delivering commodities to Asia, Europe and other parts of the world while reducing post-harvest losses, Tech Crunch says. The company takes a 30% commission of the profits made per trade between farmers and buyers.
Agriculture is still one of the most important economic sectors for Africa, employing the majority of the population and accounting for 14% of GDP in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a report by Oxford Business Group. However, unequal access to resources; climate, infrastructure and technological challenges; low remuneration and other factors inhibit the growth of the Agric sector and Complete Farmer is hoping to reverse the situation.