Virtual farming from the diaspora is an involved process that necessitates proper planning and management for success. While there is growing number of successful diaspora farmers, some who have even relocated to Africa to become full time farmers, many complain that managing a farm from the diaspora could be quite costly and stressful. Luckily, for those who want to participate in the booming agricultural sector in Africa without the stress of directly owning a farm, there are multiple digital solutions that allow Africans in the diaspora to invest in agriculture in Africa. Here are profiles of 8 such companies operating in different countries in Africa.
Based in Ghana, Kwidex is a crowd farming platform that helps farmers get funds to invest in the agricultural value chain in Africa. The company was set up in 2018 by Prince Asamoah, Seyram Mantey and Eugene Asiedu. The trio recently won the Betway Fintech Challenge 2019, securing a grant of $3800 for their startup.
Through the website kwidex.com, farming projects in search of investment are showcased. Investors, referred to as “contributors” on the platform, pick out businesses to invest in. The returns for investors range from 12% to 30%. The startup earns a commission from the raised funds. The types of projects that have received funding on the platform include vegetable farming, fish farming, poultry farming, and pig farming.
Agrikaab is a crowd farming platform registered in Kenya and Somalia. The Startup helps raise funds for farming projects in Somalia. Agrikaab was founded by Mohamed Jimale, a Somali refugee in Sweden. Mohamed is an IT expert and has previously worked at the United Nations. The inspiration to set Agrikaab came about during the 2016 drought in Somalia. The company emerged from a motivation to help create employment for Somali nomads who had lost much of their livelihood after the drought.
Investors from the world over can log on to agrikaab.com and find an agribusiness venture to invest in. The startup also has an Android app that makes it even easier to invest in projects on their platform. The projects that one can invest in include greenhouse farming, camel farming, and microfinance loans for farmers. Investors are assured of a 20% annual return on investment.
Farmcrowdy he's one of the biggest crowd farming platforms in Africa. Through farmcrowdy.com or farmcrowdy app, investors can get a piece of Nigeria's lucrative agricultural sector. Farmcrowdy was founded by Onyeka Akumah, Akindele Philips, Tope Omotolani, Christopher Abiodun and Ifeanyi Anazodo.
Farmcrowdy prides itself with the revolutionary “farm from anywhere” concept. Investors login to the platform and identify a farm to invest in. Investors on this platform are referred to as sponsors. After sponsoring an idea, sponsors receive bi-weekly updates about their farm. The sponsors receive their invested amount plus profits after the products have been sold. Most of the farming projects on farmcrowdy guarantee sponsors returns on investment of 11% to 22%.
Like farmcrowdy, Ez-farming is also a crowd farming platform based in Nigeria. It was launched in 2015. It enables anybody to finance farming ventures mostly in Nigeria and get profits. Ez-Farming was founded by Dr. Adewale Oparinde who is the CEO of the company. He was inspired to start Ez-Farming as a way of tackling the high rates of unemployment in Nigeria.
Farming projects are vetted by Ez-Farming before they are placed on their website. Investors get to choose the venture to invest in. The investor then pays and receives a contract that will guide the relationship and responsibilities of the farmer, Ez-Farming and the investor. Investors are updated on a monthly basis on their project through photographs. Investors receive returns stipulated that on the contract after the harvest is sold. The return-on-investment on Ez-Farming ranges from 15% to 17%.
Fedgroup is a financial services group based in South Africa. The crowd farming platform is an arm of Fedgroup. It uses a website and a mobile app to help investors find agricultural ventures to invest in. Investment opportunities on Fedgroup include solar energy, blueberry farming, and beekeeping. Unlike other crowd farming platforms, Fedgroup strictly specializes on these three ventures. They have plans to add more ventures to their portfolio soon. Investors receive a return on investment of 10% to 16%. The projects are insured by Fedgroup partners and therefore their investors’ capital is safeguarded.
Livestock wealth was established in 2015 and is based in South Africa. It is a crowd farming platform that enables investors to profit from cattle farming in South Africa. Livestock wealth was founded by Ntuthuko Shezi. Shezi is an electro-mechanical engineer from Kwazulu-natal. According to Shezi, Livestock wealth’s goal is to give ordinary citizens an opportunity to invest in a long-term investment plan with potential for high Returns. As an investor on Livestock Wealth, you become a full owner of an asset such as a cattle that is then managed by the farmer. As a owner of the asset you can decide if, how and when to dispose of the asset. This is quite different from other crowd farming platform where you are treated more like a debt investor in a short term project.
The company uses a web platform, Android app and IOS app to link farmers and investors. At the moment, the company focuses on cattle farming but has recently expanded to macadamia nut tree farming.
Crop Crowd is a crowd farming platform that operates in Kenya and Uganda. It plays the role of giving visibility to farmers with profitable ideas. These farmers receive funding from Crop Crowd’s community of investors gathered from around the world.
The platform was founded by entrepreneurs Jamie Magambo, Jack Barton, and Sean Salloux. Crop Crowd identifies farms that need funding and showcases them to investors who are subscribed on the platform by email. Unlike other platforms which show available ventures on their platform for investors to pick from, crop crowd appears to keep them hidden, only showing them to potential investors who are subscribed on the platform via email. Investors then choose and fund their favorite farms. After the harvest and sale the capital plus profit is deposited back to the Investor. Crop crowd promises a return on investment of 20%.
Cloudy Agritech is a crowd farming website that enables people from all over the world to invest in agriculture in Kenya. Crowdy Agritech was founded by Peter Wafula who is also the CEO of the company. Different projects can be found on the company's website and mobile application. One can invest in these projects for as low as $25. Upon investing the sponsor will receive emails periodically giving updates on the farming project. The sponsor is also entitled to a farm visit in the duration of the project. Crowdy Agritech receives 20% of the profits realized in the farming project. The sponsor and the farmer each receive 40% of profits per single invested unit of $25. Examples of farming projects on crowdyagritec.com are rabbit farming, goat farming, onion farming, and soya bean farming.
Funding for small scale farmers is one of the biggest challenges facing the agriculture sector in Africa. Small-scale farmers in Africa are vital in achieving food security on the continent. Through these online crowd farming platforms, Africans in the diaspora can easily invest in farms in Africa. This mode of virtual farming is relatively easier, less stressful and more flexible than owning your own farm. The funds are administered by farming professionals who understand local African markets. As with any investment, virtual farming is not risk free, but all the platforms profiled appear to have a sound track record of delivering on their promises.