Problem: Paucity in funding for agriculture, food insecurity and under-utilization of abundant arable land, increasing youth unemployment, aging farmer population, and difficulty in accessing a consistent supply of high quality traceable produce are one of the main problems in Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic landscape.
Solution: E-farms is an agriculture focused fintech that sources funds from farm investors (individual and corporate, using an online platform, so as to finance agricultural production and commodity trading, so as to unlock finance and access to markets for smallholder farmers. We also train and empower young graduates looking to start a career in agriculture, but with neither skills and funds to do so. It's an agri-financing and agri-learning platform.
Goals and objectives: E-farms was founded to ensure that farmers have all the resources and finance required for optimal production by leveraging on pools of investment from investors passionate about the agricultural sector, but lacking the skills and time to execute effectively; and making same available to farmers, both active farmers, as well as potential graduate farmers, and connecting this to produce off-takers.
Implementation: eFarms (incorporated as FoodBank GrowMore Ltd) was founded by Nwachinemere Emeka and Akam Divine Love in November 29th 2017.
eFarms presents a preselect list of farms comprising of different crops and animals, chosen with careful consideration to demand, yield, Return of Investment (ROI), and Tenure of investment. These are divided into sub units corresponding to minimum investments for each farm. Thus, a maize farm may consist of 100 Acres of sub-farms, which may be in different locations. All farms are insured. To participate, a potential farm-investor would go through the platform, browse through all the farms with their corresponding GPS Coordinates, ROI, Expected Yield, Tenure of Investment displayed, read the FAQs, ask questions; then register, and select for funding the farm of their choice. During the tenure of investment, the farm-investor gets bi-weekly feedback in the form of videos, pictures, texts, and can book on-site farm visit if he chooses. At the end of the investment tenure, the Farm-Investor gets back his initial capital and his returns on investment varying for different crops and different tenures.
When a participant registers as either an active farmer, or graduate farmer, they are screened; only qualified farmers can participate or be on-boarded. Active farmers are assessed for crops they have experience growing, a feasibility study on the suitability of land they use for selected crop would be evaluated, and if matching, the farmer’s operation is funded. For the graduate farmers, they can only be on-boarded at the end of their training on crops selected. The funding of farmers comes in the form of provision of inputs needed for the quantity of crops chosen, and monthly stipends agreed upon. This measure is to ensure that funds are used for agreed upon purposes, as well as uniformity of produce, as the same seedlings would be provided to all farmers.
The active learner chooses what crop to follow and is able to learn across all our media platforms. She/he may later decide to begin his own farm, or work with eFarms. The produce off-takers also registers and keeps track of our produce and the harvest time; with the view to buying them once they are ready.
Achievements: To date, eFarms has connected over 748 investors, rasing over $500,000 in farm investments to finance 3,050 smallholder farmers working in 9 different agricultural value chains across 8 states of Nigeria.
eFarms won the 2017 CTA Pitch AgriHack competition held in Côte d’Ivoire. The Support from CTA enabled the company to hit the to meet and exceed the milestones they set in agreement with CTA, which included leasing and cultivating at least 100 Ha of land, finance 100 smallholder farmers across three locations in Nigeria and provide 200 ‘graduate farmers’ with on-farm training in their chosen field of interest, provide 50 ‘farm-ternships’ opportunities for students enrolled in higher institutions and raise at least ₦10 million ($20,000) from a minimum of 50 farm-investors. Efarms also won the FCMB Pitch Perfect Competition as the best e-savings platform in Nigeria, and was named top 50 innovative startups in Africa by the Jack Ma Foudations’ African Netpreneur initative, in 2019.
Divine-Love Akam, CEO
4B Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority,
Oyo road, Niko, Iseyin, Oyo State
Phone: +234 812 867 6420