The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), with funding from the European Union Trust Fund For Africa (EUTF) under the GrEEn project in Ghana, has entered a partnership with Grow For Me (GFM) – an innovative Ghanaian company managing a digital agricultural financing platform.
GFM enables anyone to participate in farming and commodities by trading digitally: GFM connects investors to farmers and aggregators in need of financing through their web and USSD based crowdfunding platform.
Under the UNCDF partnership and its funding and technical assistance facility, GFM will leverage their business model to provide capacity building, access to finance and market, and channel diaspora investments to finance youth and women farmers in Ashanti and Western Regions.
The market potential
By 2030, the Agricultural Industry in Africa will be valued at US$1trillion; however, access to finance and markets remains a big challenge. The situation is no different in Ghana, where many farmers struggle to access financing because they are considered a substantial risk by financial institutions. Also, many farmers experience huge post-harvest losses due to a lack of ready markets to buy their harvest and storage facilities like warehouses. These challenges limit their capacity to grow, expand and become economically independent.
UNCDF is working to address these problems through a partnership with Grow For Me, spearheading innovation through crowdfunding as mandated by the European Union.
UNCDF Technical Specialist Arianna Gasparri said the partnership with GFM forms part of UNCDF’s mission to unlock capital for both individuals and MSMEs. “GFM is bringing on board an innovative service that will unlock these opportunities, and we look forward to seeing its success for thousands of young farmers and aggregators. Thanks to the EU funding through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), GFM will have the opportunity to intentionally target youth and women in the Ashanti and Western Regions in Ghana.”
UNCDF’s Digital Financial Service (DFS) Expert-Skills and Innovation, Ophelia Ama Oni said: “GFM’s innovative crowdfunding model offers to the Ghanaian diaspora an opportunity to invest in a farm or trade commodities while providing much-needed finance and capacity building for farmers”.
Grow For Me CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Nana Opoku Ware Ofori Agyeman-Prempeh said: “The partnership with the GrEEn Project is perfectly aligned with our core vision and mandate of making food affordable and accessible to all. With over 30 percent post-harvest losses in Africa, there is a need to scale our platform into other regions of Ghana and take those learnings into new markets such as Kenya and Nigeria, to mention a few. This will enable our continent to deal with the food-scarcity problem at the farm gate.
“Thanks to the EU and UNCDF, we will expand our operations to Ashanti and Western Regions and enable farmers to find a ready market for their harvest through financing from Africans in the diaspora. As a result of this intervention, processors and commodity exporters will have a consistent supply of high-quality commodities to their warehouses and factories, while sharing profit with financiers across the world.”
The partnership officially kicked-off in August, aiming to reach 2,000 farmers and unlock funding from key diaspora corridors. It falls under the strategic UNCDF approach of Inclusive Digital Economies that aims to leverage digital transformation and technology to ‘leave no one behind’. Thanks to the EU support, UNCDF can support private sector players in their innovation and growth trajectories contributing to the country’s development agenda.