Farmcrowdy: the app helping agriculture in Africa
Agriculture needs to be developed in a better way in Africa: there are farmers and there is land available; if developed in the right way, agriculture is the way to fight hunger in the continent as well as a huge opportunity for economic growth.
Unfortunately, sometimes farmers do have the land but they lack of technology to use it in an efficient way, as well as money to hire the workforce.
Farmcrowdy aims to do just that by matching farmers with people who can help them. It has a lot of other features as well. To find out more about it, today Impakter is speaking with Onyeka Akumah, CEO and Founder of Farmcrowdy.
What is the story of Farmcrowdy?
Onyeka Akumah: I have always found Tech Innovative Solutions quite intriguing, and creating solutions to problems is something I find very passionate. In September 1996 when I was just 12 years old, I discovered my love for Agriculture when my mother made me raise 500 days-old chicks to be put for sale after and the proceeds were to be used to get a gift from Santa Claus. Sadly, most of the chicks died and the rest went into my mum’s pot of soup. This experience gave me my first real foray into Agriculture.
After graduating from Sikkim Manipal University in Gangtok, India, my career began at the British Council of Nigeria where I was their webmaster for Nigeria, I then became a part of some of the leading Internet and technology-reliant businesses in Nigeria – including Konga.com, Jumia.com, GTBank, Deloitte, Wakanow.com and Travelbeta.com – where I focused on the user experience and customer journey of selling products and services online.
Today, I am fully committed to utilizing innovation to tackle real problems facing Africans and Nigerians in particular with a special interest in applying technology to Transportation, Real Estate and most recently, Agriculture.
The idea of Farmcrowdy originated from challenges I had witnessed first-hand some time in February 2015. Around that time, there were ongoing conversations around how to reliably channel resources into Agriculture – even in the Nigerian Government. I did not have the requisite skills for farming, neither did I have the time to invest in day-to-day monitoring of farming activities.
Getting trusted farmers to partner with is also another problem for people. On the flip side, Nigeria has millions of small-scale farmers who live in rural areas and have farmland of about 2.5 – 7.5 acres. A common problem they face is not having the finances to expand their farm operations from subsistence farming to farming on a commercial scale.
Beyond this, some small-scale farmers have difficulty using smart farming techniques and accessing the right market for their farm produce in order to make a decent profit margin.
This is what inspired my decision to start Farmcrowdy.
Farmcrowdy is an online platform that connects the small-scale farmers with farm sponsors who will fund their farms to increase their production capacity through the guidance of our technical field experts to grow their production. Prior to harvest, we get pre-arranged buyers for the farm produce so that we can sell for a decent margin to all stakeholders involved.
How does Farmcrowdy work? What about the sponsorship system?
O. A. : To sponsor a farm, you need to be registered as a user first by signing up on our website or by downloading our mobile app which is available on Google Play Store or IOS App Store. You would then create your own personalized Farmcrowdy profile, then visit our Farm Shop which displays a variety of farms for you to select from and sponsor.
Updates are sent to the farm sponsors in photo, text and video formats during the farm cycle and at the end of the farm cycle, the farm sponsor will receive a percentage of the profit after the sale of harvested produce in addition to the initial sponsorship.
How many people have downloaded your app so far?
O. A. : Presently, we have close to 80,000 people who have downloaded our mobile app to follow Farmcrowdy farms. These are 80,000 people that have connected with us to learn and sponsor farms with us and we continue to encourage more individuals to join the movement of keeping Africa’s food system evolving.
What kind of impact do you have on your country’s economy? Is the app available also in other countries?
O. A. : Over the years, Farmcrowdy has been able to create an avenue for constant food production, security and sustainability through our platform. We have also been an enabler to the rural farmers in our community by providing easy access to modern techniques, resources, inputs, seeds, fertilizers and even a marketplace to ease distribution of their various farm produce.
We were honored to have been recently listed on London Stock Exchange’s “Companies to Inspire Africa in 2019”.
The Farmcrowdy mobile app is available in every country and can be downloaded via the Google Play Store or the IOS App Store.
What do you think needs to be done to have more entrepreneurs and initiatives like you and your company in Africa?
O. A. : Africa has limitless potential and there are endless opportunities for anyone determined enough to make their mark. For entrepreneurs, we need to create more crowd or start-up funding opportunities. We also need to rapidly scale the entrepreneurship impact stories in Africa by investing and putting more effort in exceptional individuals who can solve relevant problems.
We need to provide these individuals with enough resources to build on and also provide more job opportunities. Entrepreneurship holds the key to Africa’s transformation.
What are your thoughts about the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)?
I am in support of what the SDGs stand for. They have helped shape myself and the entire Farmcrowdy team. Some of our collective goals as a company have been motivated by the SDGs and nothing will stop us from playing our part in fulfilling the SDGs especially the call to end hunger.
In the cover picture: The CEO of Farmcrowdy Onyeka Akumah with some Farmers. Photo Credits: Farmcrowdy