Imagine being able to invest in agriculture in Nigeria from anywhere in the world, without actually owning a farm. This is what agritech platform, Farmcrowdy has made possible. The company, which launched in Nigeria in 2016, currently has 7,000 farmers in its books who work on 10,000 acres of land across 9 states in Africa’s most populous country.
More than 1,000 people have invested in the Nigerian agricultural industry through Farmcrowdy from outside of Nigeria, in excess of £1,620,000, most of them coming from the United Kingdom.
“With the current climate of economic uncertainty surrounding the UK with the likes of Brexit for example, we feel it is important that options and alternative means of investment are made available. The UK is home to over 1 million Nigerians, and with a multi-million pound remittance market, Nigerians living in the Diaspora have the option to not only send money home to their families for their upkeep, but also build their personal investment portfolios through investing in one of the country’s largest sectors,” Onyeka Akumah, CEO and Co-Founder of Farmcrowdy says.
Farmcrowdy is reshaping the way in which people participate in farming and food production through using their online and mobile platforms, and predicts that hundreds more Nigerians based in the UK will look to invest their money into the country’s estimated £30bn agricultural sector, thanks to the strong returns on investment, and the fact that technology is now breaking down barriers to investment and engagement. Whereas, previously deploying funds to invest into Nigerian farming opportunities may have been problematic with investors unable to track progress of crops or guarantee payments would be made, Farmcrowdy provides a safe, trusted platform where farmers and sponsors can interact, via mobile.
“Our platform makes it easy for Nigerians in the Diaspora to use their funds to directly impact smallholder farmers who are in dire need of this kind of capital intervention to expand and optimize their farming activities,” says Tope Omotolani, VP Operations and Co-Founder of Farmcrowdy. “This in turn gives the sponsors an opportunity to empower farmers and make healthy returns at the end of the farm cycle.”
Omotolani stressed that rural farmers contribute the largest amount of food crops that are grown in Nigeria’s economy, yet they have the least amount of resources to cultivate important food crops, hence the importance of the Farmcrowdy model.
The Farmcrowdy VP explains further that the startup has set a goal to work with 50,000 farmers by the year 2020. “This is no small goal by any means but we also understand that the impact these would create in the lives of the farmers, their community and in the country as a whole would be remarkable.