Nigerian agri-tech startup ThriveAgric clinches US$56.4m to accelerate growth, impact among farmers

NIGERIA – ThriveAgric, the Nigeria-based agritech startup, has raised US$56.4m to be channelled towards growing its 200,000-strong farm base, and expand into new African markets, including Ghana, Zambia and Kenya. 

The debt funding was clinched from local commercial banks and institutional investors, which includes obtaining a co-investment grant of US$1.75m from the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment.

Founded in 2017, ThriveAgric empowers farmers in Nigeria to sell their products to FMCGs and food processors, leveraging its proprietary technology to access finance as well as improve productivity and sales to promote food security.

The technology, an Agricultural Operating System (AOS), works entirely offline, dispatches USSD to farmers, and powers Android apps used by field agents to help digitally collate creditworthy farmers and gather relevant farm data.

“The new investment takes us one step closer to fulfilling our mission of building the largest network of profitable African farmers using technology, to ensure food security.

“We look ahead with renewed confidence knowing that our smallholder farmers will benefit financially even more from this new investment,” said Chief Executive Officer Uka Eje.

 This latest funding follows US$9m Thrive Agriculture raised in 2020 and over the past 12 months, its revenues increased five-fold, with a year-on-year increase of 277% in farmer numbers.

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The strong margin performance was boosted by farmers using the company’s AOS proprietary product.

Smallholder farmers constitute over 80% of the Nigerian agriculture industry. Access to finance, advisory, and markets are significant barriers. Nearly 72% live below the poverty line on less than $1.90 a day.

ThriveAgric also supports Africa’s agriculture sector by assisting smallholder farmers in producing high-quality grains.

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Harvests, including maize, rice and soybeans, are stored in many of the company’s 450+ warehouses in Bauchi, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina states in Nigeria, before being commoditized and offered to local and global trade markets at a premium price. 

“ThriveAgric has increased its footprint to 20 states in Nigeria, and we look forward to a lengthy period of growth as we continue to link African farmers to capital, data driven best practices and access to local and global markets for their commodities,” said Eje.

Farmers assisted by ThriveAgric can charge premium rates for their commodities, allowing them to increase their incomes up to 25 percent.

ThriveAgric Co-founder and CTO, Ayo Arikawe, said, “ThriveAgric’s fundraising objectives are geared towards growth through vertical and horizontal integration. One of our goals is to be able to widen access to markets for our smallholder farmers, help to lift them out of poverty, and ultimately promote food security. We do this by enabling them to take their produce to local and international markets.

“We’re thrilled and excited to receive support from such high calibre investors. Their financial backing is an essential step in fulfilling ThriveAgric’s vision to build an Africa that feeds herself and the world.”

At the height of the global pandemic, business and supply disruptions prevented ThriveAgric from fulfilling obligations to its subscribers, leading to swift appointments of key personnel, including Olurotimi Arigbede, Chief Financial Officer and Michael Kadiri, Head of Risk Management and Compliance.

Under the strengthened management structure, the company settled all outstanding disputes with subscribers. 

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