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AgroCenta Secures $790k Pre-Series A Funding to Scale its Agri-tech Ecosystem and Secure Crop Purchases From Smallholder Farmers

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AgroCenta, an agritech startup that blends cutting edge digital innovation with traditional on the ground operations to transform the lives of smallholder farmers in Ghana, has secured funding from UK charity Shell Foundation, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), AV Ventures and Rabo Foundation.

The new funding will enable AgroCenta to further develop its smallholder farmer inclusion programmes and procure crops at transparent and fair market prices to service offtake contracts.

Agriculture and farming are a staple activity for more than half of the population in many West-African countries. Whilst smallholder farmers relentlessly work their plots of land, they often face many challenges when they try to bring and sell their harvest to the market. Lack of information on fair market prices for different crops often leaves them at the mercy of selling at low prices to middlemen.

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In addition, lacking adequate infrastructure, logistics and transportation also limits their access to larger urban markets, where they could obtain much better pricing for their crops.

Furthermore, the lack of basic data that enables KYC (Know Your Customer) and a limited or non-existent credit history means that smallholders have very limited access to finance.

This prevents them from being able to utilise all of their land for growing crops or forces them to resort to using lower quality inputs — leading to stagnation at the bottom of the pyramid.

  • Through AgroCenta’s CropChain platform, smallholder farmers can execute transactions with accurate information. Since the app’s launch, the average CropChain farmer’s income has increased by circa 35%.
  • With reliable access to financing, inputs and knowledge on agricultural best practices, smallholder farmers are well positioned to contribute to sustainable food security in the long run. AgroCenta has managed to reduce food waste by 25%.
  • Through community engagement, the company is working to increase gender equality and land ownership by women in a sector where 50% of smallholder farmers are women.
  • Agriculture accounts for circa. 17% of Ghana’s GDP. Through its outreach and services, AgroCenta has increased crop yields of farmers by 40% thereby contributing to Ghana’s economy at large.
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Francis Obirikorang, AgroCenta’s CEO and Co-Founder Michael Ocansey highlights the importance and criticality of this investment: “This is a significant milestone for AgroCenta, having the support of leading institutions, particularly with the COVID-19 backdrop, underlining the strength of AgroCenta and the importance of its mission.

“The demand for agricultural raw materials from off-takers in the brewery, manufacturing and consumer sector is increasing exponentially because of the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions that were put in place by the government of Ghana, hence this capital injection will help to secure purchases at fair and transparent prices from smallholders — a much needed lifeline for many who are at the proverbial bottom of the pyramid”.

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