Ghana-based Farmerline plans to expand its offering for smallholder farmers in Ivory Coast as fertiliser crisis deepens in West Africa
27 September 2022, Accra, Ghana & Amersfoort, the Netherlands – Farmerline Group today 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 33% 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.”