Ghanaian startup Farmerline, which describes itself as “Amazon for African farmers”, has secured a US$6.4 million pre-Series A investment plus another US$6.5 million in debt to help it expand.
Launched in 2013 by Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai, Farmerline partners with agribusinesses and farm associations to support African farmers with high-quality fertiliser and seeds, free education on climate-smart farming practices, and access to international markets.
Its marketplace combines digital tools with logistics, field agents, farm resources and strategic partnerships, while the company’s in-house technology platform Mergdata is licensed by global food traders and manufacturers who use its customisable tools to improve the lives of farmers around the world.
The US$6.4 million equity investment was led by Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund (ARAF) and FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, and also features Greater Impact Foundation. It is Farmerline’s first equity raise since launching with a US$600 grant almost a decade ago. Lenders of the US$6.5 million debt include DEG, Rabobank, Ceniarth, Rippleworks, Mulago Foundation, Whole Planet Foundation, Netri Foundation and Kiva.
To date, Farmerline has digitised over one million farmers through partnerships across 26 countries, and with the new funding on board it is planning greater scale.
“At the peak of the pandemic, local agricultural SMEs played a vital role in ensuring food security – supporting farmers; supplying agricultural inputs; and distributing to final consumers,” Attah said. “With this new investment, we will scale the AI capabilities within Farmerline’s Mergdata platform to help increase the income of farmers and agribusinesses; supporting them to access farm inputs; supplying them with assets such as tricycles, tractors and threshers; and connecting them to global markets.”
Farmerline will also invest in local infrastructure and logistics to support distribution, and accelerate the industry’s marketplace currently across Ghana with plans to deepen relationships with partners in Ivory Coast.
“Farmerline’s goal has always been to create lasting wealth for farmers and their communities. To do that at scale, we’re expanding our operations across regions and are actively on the lookout for the best talent to help build an efficient supply chain that saves money for agribusinesses, reduces the cost of farming and the time it takes for people to get services to rural areas. We must ensure that local agribusinesses grow because when they do, we all succeed,” Addai said.
Tamer El-Raghy, managing director of ARAF, said he was honoured to co-lead the investment, and excited to partner with world-class Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
“Farmerline’s technology platform helps smallholder farmers adapt to climate change by increasing their income and reducing their income volatility by providing them with access to inputs and markets while helping them adapt sustainable and climate smart practices which perfectly fits ARAF’s investment strategy. This is an invaluable addition to ARAF’s portfolio and we look forward to supporting Farmerline’s local and regional growth,” he said.