App that allows diasporans to farm remotely goes live

Desmond Koney

Agritech entrepreneur Desmond Koney has developed a new mobile application that allows Ghanaians at home and abroad to own and run actual farms in Ghana remotely.

The platform’s social features also enable friends and family to own actual farms across the continent together, by forming cooperatives.

Christened ‘Complete Farmer’, the portal addresses key challenges faced by commodity buyers and food growers along Africa’s agriculture value chain.

Founded in 2017, the Ghana-based startup’s first offering brought farming to the fingertips of thousands of users around the world – allowing them to own tech-enabled farms in Africa and digitally experience the farming process. ‘Farming without getting your hands dirty!’

With the launch of its new offering, Complete Farmer is set to make an even deeper impact on the agriculture value chain.

The new platform is an end-to-end digital marketplace that enables global industries to source agriculture commodities – grown to their specifications, and is available to users from all over the world using IoT, big data, and blockchain technology.

Launched on April 10, the platform has been built as a three-sided marketplace where commodity Buyers, Food Growers, and Digifarmers can transparently participate in digital agriculture and interact on a single platform.

Commodity buyers from across the globe can build entire supply chains into Africa without having to work through middlemen, and get full visibility into the process from cultivation to post-harvest, quality control, transportation and logistics using blockchain traceability features – leaving them in no doubt as to progress, yield and quality.

Desmond Koney, CEO of Complete Farmer said: “With the rise of B2B e-commerce, expectations of B2B buyers are changing. The rise of the Amazons, Ubers, Googles and the other big tech giants of this world are changing mindsets of commodity buyers – who now expect an easy comparison of suppliers, seamless online ordering processes and convenient deliveries. In an always-connected world where data is the new oil, commodity buyers also expect and deserve much more transparency in the production process”.

Buyers get an exclusive supply of agriculture commodities delivered to their preferred location and grown to their desired specifications without the hassle of working with middlemen, who have notoriously monopolised the commodity markets in Africa due to the broken nature of the agriculture value chain.

Experienced farmers who sign-on to become growers on the platform get access to proprietary cultivation protocols developed by Complete Farmer.

The company enables precision agriculture for growers on the platform through the use of satellite and IoT technologies which collect crop insights that are used in optimising crop growth, supply chains, and farm management. Using this approach ensures that the product meets strict requirements of the market. The intention is to disrupt the farming industry and enable more farmers to farm commercially and feed global supply chains.

Also featured on this platform is an upgraded version of the company’s first offering – a digital farming product named Digifarmer. With it, users can farm digitally and monitor the whole action on their mobile devices.

This version gives users more control in terms of selling their produce to buyers of their choice. Also, it offers greater transparency in the farming process, including post-harvest outcomes.

“We are bringing digital farming to the masses – from the bank-teller in Lagos to the business executive in London,” CEO Desmond Koney noted.

The ultimate aim for Complete Farmer has always been to build an end-to-end platform for the three key stakeholders on the agriculture value chain: food growers, food buyers, and food lovers – getting these stakeholders interacting with each other in a manner that increases transparency and efficiency for them.

This new platform combats the issue of a fragmented supply chain, especially for agriculture in Africa, for the first time.

The various solutions will be consolidated under one central app for global users to participate in ensuring food security, and represents the company’s vision of creating a world that eats better by working together. The app’s social features enable users from all over the globe to connect. Friends and family can own actual farms in Africa together by forming cooperatives.

The startup boasts some impressive partners which enable it to deliver such value across the value chain. With some of the world’s best agrochemicals and seed companies, logistics and delivery companies, and quality control, certification and insurance companies as partners, Complete Farmer is transforming agriculture production and distribution for its users.

Since incorporation, the company has successfully piloted a digital farming model with a total of 7,200 acres of total production serving about 55,000 metric tonnes of commodities to buyers in Asia, Europe and rest of the world.

Currently, the complete farmer platform supports over 2,000 acres of farmland across six regions in Ghana and is projected to expand its operations to Kenya and Togo this year.

Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, Complete Farmer is a portfolio company of MEST Africa.

The team pitched on stage at Techcrunch Battlefield Africa in 2018 and won Demo Africa in 2018. The company is planning on closing its Seed round in March 2021 to focus on its next stage of growth so as to scale across other value chains in Africa.

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