Farmerline Group has announced the second close of a Pre-Series A investment raise with an additional US$ 1.5 million investment from social impact investor Oikocredit. The investment is part of a total funding round worth US$14.4 million raised by Farmerline from investors including FMO and ARAF.
Ghana-based Farmerline supports smallholder farmers and agribusinesses with digital tools, logistics, field agents and farm resources. The organisation has recently started plans to expand its operations into Ivory Coast in a bid to help farmers facing increased fertiliser prices and shortages.
Dubbed the ‘Amazon for African farmers’, Farmerline provides smallholder farmers with access to high-quality fertiliser and seeds, free education on climate-smart farming practices and connections to international markets. More recently, it has financed around US$ 18 million worth of inputs and crops through franchise shop alliances with agribusinesses and input dealers.
Global cooperative and social impact investor Oikocredit invests in partners working in the agricultural sector across Africa. As fertiliser prices more than quadruple and the conflict in Ukraine compounds global food security challenges, this investment is crucial. The latest US$ 1.5 million equity investment in Farmerline Group reinforces this commitment and brings the total raised by Farmerline to US$ 14.4 million.
Farmerline recently closed a Pre-Series A equity investment of US$6.4 million and US$ 6.5 million debt. As the company deepens its presence in West Africa, it plans to strengthen its supply chain for agribusinesses, reduce the cost of farming and increase yield for farmers on the continent through the deployment of AI technology and local infrastructure.
Alloysius Attah, co-founder and CEO of Farmerline, said: “We remain committed to standing by farmers and agribusinesses across Africa during this crucial time. With the support of Oikocredit alongside our first-round funders, our distribution, logistics and financing services will continue not only in Ghana but also in Ivory Coast where we’ve recently begun the process of expanding our team.”
He adds: “Now is not a time for business as usual. We need to work closely with all partners and stakeholders in the agricultural sector through this critical period to create sustainable food system solutions that benefit African farmers.”
Mila Georgieva, Equity Officer at Oikocredit, said: “The harmful impact of rocketing fertiliser costs on smallholder farmers in Africa is clear. With our investment in Farmerline, we are supporting those most affected by the price volatility. Our investments in the agriculture sector are at the core of Oikocredit’s work as a social impact investor, and we have already identified synergies with other portfolio companies. We are thrilled to support Farmerline Group and smallholder communities across Ghana and Ivory Coast.”
Last month, Farmerline launched their Support a Farmer initiative – a public crowdfunding campaign to raise GH¢1 million (US$100,000) with the aim of providing 250,000 bags of discounted fertiliser to 25,000 farmers across Ghana.
Alloysius explains: “In a recent Farmerline survey, we found that more than half of the Ghanaian farmers we spoke to hadn’t applied any fertiliser to their crops just weeks before the end of planting season. An additional 33percent said they’ve only partially applied the fertiliser they need.
It’s simply too expensive, and therefore imperative for us to not only do something to soften that burden but also provide an opportunity for everyday Ghanaians to stand in solidarity with the farming community during this turbulent time.”
Farmerline partners with agribusinesses and farmer associations to support African farmers with high-quality fertilizer and seeds; free education on climate-smart farming practices, and access to international markets to ultimately create lasting wealth for them and their communities.
Co-founders Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai launched the company in 2013, delivering timely agronomic voice messages to 800 farmers across Ghana through its technology platform Mergdata – named by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 Best Inventions of 2019.
Farmerline has since digitized 1 million farmers through partnerships across 35 countries, and its marketplace – the continent’s Amazon for African farmers – now combines digital tools with logistics, field agents, farm resources and strategic partnerships. The company is one of the largest employers in the Ghanaian agriculture sector.
Social impact investor and worldwide cooperative Oikocredit has over 45 years of experience funding organisations active in financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy. Oikocredit’s loans, equity investments and capacity building aim to enable people on low incomes in Africa, Asia and Latin America to improve their living standards sustainably. Oikocredit finances over 500 partners, with total outstanding capital of € 1,014.7 million (at 30 June 2022).