Nigeria’s agriculture technology (agritech) startup, Farmcrowdy has moved to woo Nigerians based in the United Kingdom, to invest in agric opportunities back home using their mobile phones.
Established in 2016, the company which currently has an active sponsorship base of 1,000, said it has seen total investments from Nigerians living outside the country into its platform rise to over £1.62 million.
Majority of the sponsors reside in the UK. Interestingly, Diaspora remittances from the UK to Nigeria which is about £4 billion annually, is the fourth largest.
Onyeka Akumah, co-founder of Farmcrowdy explained that the UK being home to over 1 million Nigerians makes it the ideal market to provide alternative investment portfolio.
“Farmcrowdy is reshaping the way in which people participate in farming and food production through using their online and mobile platforms, and predicts that hundreds more Nigerians based in the UK will look to invest their money into the country’s estimated £30 billion agricultural sector, thanks to the strong returns on investment, and the fact that technology is not breaking down barriers to investment and engagement,” Akumah said in a statement released to BusinessDay.
He also added that Farmcrowdy has addressed the problem investors usually have in agritech in terms of tracking the progress of crops or guaranteeing that payments would be made. The company, he said provides a safe, trusted platform where farmers and sponsors can interact via their mobile phones.
To sponsor a crop cycle, investors can start with as low as £175 (N90,000). A crop cycle can be anything from poultry (3-5 months) to cassava (9 months). The farmers receive on-the-ground advice from farm specialists – training in better agriculture practices, different types of crops and production methods. When the yield is sold at harvest, the sponsor receives their orginal investment +40 percent of the profit, the farmer receives 40 percent of the profit and Farmcrowdy receives 20 percent of the profit. Sponsors of farm can get between 6 to 15 percent on their returns.
“The scale of the Nigerian agricultural sector is huge,” Oyawale Olusola, VP Investment and Corporate Governance, Farmcrowdy, said. “There are currently around 30 million small scale farmers who are unbankable. Our mission is to connect them with sponsors who are interested in farming, and who want to invest in the market.”
Farmcrowdy presently has 10,000 acres of land and 7,000 farmers signed up from 9 states in Nigeria.