AgroCenta is a technology-driven agricultural platform provider in Ghana. Founded in 2016, AgroCenta operates two integrated digital platforms in Ghana, CropChain and LendIt, to help address challenges related to smallholder farmers’ access to markets and financial services. These challenges, notably poor infrastructure and logistics and insufficient access to information on fair market prices, prevent many smallholder farmers in Ghana from accessing large, urban markets where they could obtain better prices for their crops.
AV Ventures’ investment is part of a $790,000 pre-Series A investment round with other participating international institutions, including Shell Foundation, the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and Rabo Foundation, with support from AgroCenta’s strategic advisor, Qbera Capital. The investment came at an inflection point for the company, as it widens the reach of its smallholder farmer financial inclusion programs, secures crop purchases from smallholder farmers at fair and transparent market prices, and embarks on a larger fundraising effort to increase its smallholder farmer outreach in the cereals value chain and support post-COVID recovery efforts in Ghana.
“This is a significant milestone for AgroCenta, having the support of leading institutions, particularly with the COVID-19 backdrop, underlining the strength of AgroCenta and the importance of its mission. The demand for agricultural raw materials from offtakers in the brewery, manufacturing, and consumer sector is increasing exponentially because of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions that were put in place by the government of Ghana. Hence, this capital injection will help to secure purchases at fair and transparent prices from smallholders — a much needed lifeline for many who are at the proverbial bottom of the pyramid.”– Agrocenta’s CEO Francis Obirikorang and cofounder michael ocansey
Impact: AgroCenta’s Digital Platforms Link Smallholders to Markets and Boost Financial Inclusion
Agrocenta’s two complementary platforms provide farmers with an end market through the offtaking of produce and through facilitating the provision of high-quality agricultural inputs, which maximize their yields and productivity. To date, the average farmer on CropChain has increased their income by 35 percent and their crop yields by 40 percent, while reducing their food waste by 25 percent. AgroCenta has also made strides to promote gender and social inclusion; nearly half of its CropChain users and more than half of its microloan borrowers on LendIt are female smallholder farmers. The digital services AgroCenta provides along the cereals value chain brings previously unbanked farmers into the financial system, and improves the repayment of their loans, leading to further financial inclusion.