Ghanaian agri-tech startup Farmerline secures US$12.9m funding to strengthen infrastructure

GHANA – Ghanaian agritech Farmerline, has secured a US$6.4 million Pre-Series A investment and US$6.5 million debt to strengthen delivery of its service along the agri-value chain.

Farmerline founded in 2013, combines digital tools, logistics, field agents, farm resources and agribusiness partnerships to support African farmers with access to high-quality fertilizer and seeds; free education on climate-smart farming practices; and connections to international markets.

Its in-house technology platform Mergdata is licensed by global food traders and manufacturers who use its customisable tools to improve the lives of farmers around the world.

To date, the company has digitized over 1 million farmers through partnerships across 26 countries; employed over 200 people in Ghana; and evolved Mergdata into an AI-powered super platform for supply chain intelligence like crop yield prediction, fertilizer demand forecasting, product traceability, and Agribusiness credit scoring for asset and fertilizer financing.

“With this new investment, we will scale the AI capabilities within Farmerline’s Mergdata platform to help increase the income of farmers and agribusinesses; supporting them to access farm inputs; supplying them with assets such as tricycles, tractors and threshers; and connecting them to global markets,” said Farmerline’s co-founder and chief executive officer, Alloysius Attah.

Farmerline will also invest in local infrastructure and logistics to support distribution, and accelerate the industry’s marketplace currently across Ghana with plans to deepen relationships with partners in Ivory Coast.

The US$6.4 million Pre-Series A investment, led by Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund (ARAF) and FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, is Farmerline’s first equity raise since launching with a US$600 grant almost a decade ago. The other investor of the equity round is Greater Impact Foundation.

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Tamer El-Raghy, Managing Director of ARAF, said, “Farmerline’s technology platform helps smallholder farmers adapt to climate change by increasing their income and reducing their income volatility by providing them with access to inputs and markets while helping them adapt sustainable and climate smart practices which perfectly fits ARAF’s investment strategy.

“This is an invaluable addition to ARAF’s portfolio and we look forward to supporting Farmerline’s local and regional growth.”

Maurice Scheepens, Senior Investment Officer for FMO’s Venture Program, reiterate saying, “We are honoured to be part of Farmerline’s first institutional capital raise together with our partner ARAF.

“Farmerline is an excellent addition to FMO’s Ventures Program portfolio, which aims to empower local entrepreneurs that leverage disruptive technology for a better world.

“We are impressed with the platform the local founding entrepreneurs have been able to build and look forward to leveraging FMO’s network and value-add offerings to sustainably support Famerline’s continued growth.”

Meanwhile, lenders of the US$6.5 million debt include DEG, Rabobank, Ceniarth, Rippleworks, Mulago Foundation, Whole Planet Foundation, Netri Foundation and Kiva.

In recent times, Africa’s agribusiness sector has been coined the ‘new oil’ and is predicted to reach US$1 trillion by 2030.

But the continent will need eight times more fertilizer and six times more improved seeds to realize its full agricultural potential.

Today, farmers feed one third of the world and will need to increase production by 70% to cater for nine billion people by 2050.

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