The general perception about agribusiness being a ‘dirty job’ that requires you owning and cultivating your own farm with hoes and cutlasses is gradually changing thanks to startups powered by technology. This wrong perception has discouraged many young Nigerians from venturing into farming; they would rather chase the limited white-collar jobs available. However, with advancement in technology, this is no longer the case as you can now confidently be in the business of agriculture without necessarily getting ‘dirty’.

The present government is also committed to agriculture and it has come up with various policies to protect local farmers and boost local production of some of the crops grown in Nigeria.  The government has promised to ban the importation of rice this year and also placed a restriction on crude palm oil importers’ access to forex in the interbank market. These policies are geared towards boosting local production, hence creating immense opportunities for local farmers.

Here are some agritech startups that are worthy of investments in 2018.

FARMCROWDY

This is Nigeria’s first digital agriculture platform  which is focused on connecting farm sponsors with real farmers in order to increase food production while promoting youth participation in agriculture.

This agritech startup is currently disrupting the agriculture ecosystem in the country by connecting small-scale farmers with investors using their platform App which is available on Google and Apple app stores.

The farmers are provided with good seedlings, implements, advice and training from agriculture extension officers on better agricultural practices for different types of crops and better production methods.

Farmers and sponsors all receive a percentage of the profits on harvest. The platform also makes provision for insurance cover for all existing farm projects, so that in the event of unforeseen circumstances, the sponsors’ capital can be refunded. The insurance covers only the initial sponsorship capital, as it does not cover the return after harvest. The platform uses the sponsors’ funds:

  • To secure the land,
  • Engage the farmer,
  • Plant the seeds,
  • Insure 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 through texts, pictures and videos.

How it works

  • Select to either become a Farm Sponsor or Farm Follower and create your Farm Sponsor profile.
  • Go through the profiles of the farms which are spread across the country. These include cassava farms, tomato farms, chicken farms, and maize farms. The farms have different tenures/contract periods and varying ROI from 13-25%.
  • Sponsors can watch farmers grow the farm and engage them at will as updates are sent  through videos/pictures/timelines.
  • At harvest, farm products are sold to the consumer markets and the profit is then split between the farmers, farm sponsors & Farmcrowdy.

GROWSEL

This is another startup that is set to disrupt the agric value chain by empowering under-financed farmers across Nigeria. The platform is a farmers’ marketplace that connects local farmers to investors. The platform provides access to global best agricultural practical advice through SMS to local farmers without internet. Farms under their platform range from rice to cassava, potato and maize farms. Generally, ROI ranges between 10% and 30% depending on the farm and crop. The platform has formed partnerships with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for improved seedlings and insurance companies that provide insurance cover for the risks. 

How it works

  • For farmers seeking investments, they simply sign up on the website, and get connected to individual and corporate investors for funding within the estimated fund raising duration before cultivation.
  • After harvest, Growsel also helps farmers provide partner buyers who are always available to buy out produce from farms.
  • Farm updates from weeding to planting, fertilizing and chemical applications, and harvesting are provided via photos, videos and chats in real time from surveyors in the field using their exclusive Farm Monitory feature.
  • Investors in turn can browse through available farming projects; select a crop and farm of their choice and invest in line with their budgets and estimated ROI.

THRIVE AGRIC

This is an agritech startup that looks promising in the agriculture value chain. They work with farming communities and drive real change by providing what farmers need to be better and happier people. They also deploy technology to increase yield and productivity as extension workers use an app which gives daily information; farmers also get automated messages. The farms range from poultry to rice, groundnuts, soya-beans, sorghum, and maize farms. The farms are spread across the federation. All farms have insurance covers such that regardless of what goes wrong, subscribers’ capital is insured.

How it works

  • Decide to subscribe to a farm by creating an account. You can use your email to get
  • Choose a farm or farms and the quantity you want, then proceed to pay the subscription fee. This can be done online and with the aid of standby staff to ease you through the process. Payment will be reflected in your account immediately.
  • Get multimedia updates from happenings on the farm live; the updates will help you keep track of events and offer practical knowledge on the process of production, from start to finish.
  • Upon successful harvest, expected returns of proceeds from the produce are distributed to the subscribers all within the stipulated time. Expected returns are as stipulated in the terms of agreement.

These startups are not only positively impacting the lives of local farmers and their families, but making huge profit for farm sponsors and investors. Definitely this year looks bright for agritech startups.