Ashesi University’s Ghana Climate Innovation Centre And Farmerline Partner To Impact Over 12,000 Farmers

May 16, 2024

In May 2024, the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC) partnered with Farmerline, a leading AgriTech business that has reached 2.2 million farmers through 3,000+ partners across 48 countries, to launch a new AGRI-SME incubation track. By December 2024, this initiative aims to nurture 10 agri-businesses and subsequently benefit over 12,000 smallholder farmers from several regions in the country.

Farmerline recently raised a total of $20 million in Pre-Series A funding to expand into West Africa and beyond. This investment is helping the company to deepen its impact by strengthening its supply chain for agribusinesses, reducing farming costs, and increasing yields across the continent.

Since its establishment in 2016, GCIC has successfully incubated over 170 businesses with funding from the World Bank and currently Global Affairs Canada. The collaboration with Farmerline is part of GCIC’s broader project with Global Affairs Canada, representing an opportunity to ensure that smallholder farmers are not marginalized in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

At the launch of the project, Dr. Dramani Bukari, Director of Partnerships, Entrepreneurship, and Investments at GCIC, illuminated the far-reaching impact of the GCIC-Farmerline partnership. He emphasized that while the partnership would directly benefit the 10 agribusinesses currently incubated, its effects would extend to over 12,000 smallholder farmers within the network. Dr. Bukari highlighted that the incubation program would leverage various forms of support from the GCIC, including capacity building, climate-smart field training, and grants. In addition to these initiatives, Farmerline will harness its Darli AI – conversational Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to educate farmers and provide digitization, inputs, and asset financing support. Content from training will be converted into local language voice messages to be disseminated through their Mergdata platform. 

In Ghana, the Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Uses of Land (AFOUL) sector emerge as a notable contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Consequently, GCIC consistently receives many applications from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the climate-smart agricultural sector. This sector holds immense importance for several reasons, including its role in sustaining rural livelihoods, empowering women (who constitute a significant portion of smallholder farmers), and ensuring food security. Nationally, farming contributes to 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 40% of the population. These factors informed the development of a strategic partnership between GCIC and Farmerline.

Farmerline combines digital tools, logistics, field agents, farm resources, and other Agri partnerships to support farmers. The company promotes the adoption of drought-resistant seeds, implementing sustainable agricultural practices like crop rotation, and transitioning to solar-powered equipment while leveraging financing, technology, and a network of partners to help increase yields and profit. Founded in Ghana Farmerline has operations in Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Tanzania amongst other African countries.

During the launch event of the partnership, feedback from farmers underscored the profound impact of climate change on agricultural variables, particularly rain patterns, which in turn have affected yields and incomes. Farmers emphasized that female farmers are disproportionately affected due to their inability to afford the inputs necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change on yields. Furthermore, farmers emphasized the critical role of agriculture in ensuring food security and providing employment opportunities for young people. They emphasized that agriculture remains the backbone of food production in Ghana, contributing over 80% to the country’s total output.

Ruka Sanusi, the Executive Director of the Ghana Climate Innovation Council (GCIC), reiterated to the cohort that GCIC’s core mandate is to empower businesses in adapting their processes to become resilient to climate change. She emphasized the significance of designing a project that extends its reach to the last mile of agriculture, focused on adapting traditional farming practices to ensure an equitable transition for those who typically lack access to training.

According to Worlali Senyo, Ghana Country Manager at Farmerline, “a robust network of local AgriSMEs is the backbone of a climate-resilient agricultural ecosystem. When these AgriSMEs thrive, they become hubs for disseminating knowledge and resources, fostering a culture of climate resilience among smallholders. Together, Farmerline, GCIC, and local agriSMEs are investing in the present and future of our food systems, and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, transforming the threat of climate change into an opportunity for innovation and shared prosperity.”     

GCIC, an institute of Ashesi University, concentrates on five key sectors: solar energy, water purification, energy efficiency, domestic waste management, and climate-smart agriculture. It offers support to green businesses responding to climate change from both the adaptation and mitigation standpoints.

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