American impact investor injects US$220k in Kenyan agri-tech startup Farmers Pride

KENYA – Farmers Pride, a Kenya based agritech startup has clinched US$220,000 funding from American impact investor with a gender lens, Gray Matters Capital (GMC).

The investment obtained from GMC’s coLABS portfolio, will enable Farmers Pride to scale its operations which include offering quality inputs, services, and information to rural farmers.

The startup avails its services to the farmers through its women-owned DigiShops and other online-to-offline platforms, in a bid to increase farm production, improve family income and ensure food security, reports Disrupt.

Farmers Pride will use the funding to help it reach 500,000 farmers mostly female, develop an agro-dealer pipeline, and launch 50 technology-powered DigiShops.

“We are excited to work with Farmers Pride and support their inclusive agri-tech model that serves the underserved and has the potential to create a ripple effect in the communities.”

Sharda Vishwanathan – pipeline development lead at Gray Matters Capital coLABS

The company is also seeking to upgrade its last mile delivery, SMS and voice powered education platform, in addition to rolling out a robust farmer education programme to reach additional 30,000 farmers by 2022.

“Farmers Pride’s competitive advantage and uniqueness lies in adopting an agro-dealer franchising concept and integrating that with the DigiShop technology to transform rural women-owned agro-dealer shops, support women farmers to increase their income and improve last mile delivery of agricultural solutions,” said the startup’s founder Samuel Munguti.

The investment marks the latest made by coLABS in the agri-tech space in Kenya after it invested in B2B startup Taimba and trading platform Farmshine last year.

Its other portfolio startups are Rwanda’s ARED, Ghana’s Redbird, Nigeria’s Sonocare, and Tanzania’s WomenChoice Industries.

“In our interactions with agri-tech entrepreneurs, we have learned that access to quality agri-inputs and technical know-how is a huge challenge which further makes smallholder farmers – 80 per cent of which are women – vulnerable to the risks of climate change. COVID-19 has only widened this gap and impacted productivity by creating several bottlenecks,” said Sharda Vishwanathan, pipeline development lead at Gray Matters Capital coLABS.

She said Farmers Pride had built a sustainable solution that can address the looming challenges related to the agricultural last mile.

“By harnessing technology, Farmers Pride transforms the women-owned informal stores into micro-franchisees that can build traceability of the inputs and thus guarantee quality.

“In the process, they not only help build a community of micro-entrepreneurs with improved incomes but also shift gears for smallholder farmers by increasing the productivity of their yields.

“We are excited to work with Farmers Pride and support their inclusive agri-tech model that serves the underserved and has the potential to create a ripple effect in the communities,” she concluded.

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