Agritech startups in Africa are providing digital solutions aimed at tackling the issues encountered by small-scale farmers and improving their livelihood, while significantly improving the productivity of the continents agriculture secto.
In 2021 Around 22 agritech startups in Africa received a cumulative $95,101,000 in funding from investors. The agritech space continues to steadily grow as more investor dollars pour into the African agric space.
While some start-ups have succeeded in becoming established businesses, many others face challenges such as a hostile business climate, an ecosystem that cannot sustain long-term development, a lack of agricultural expertise and skills, and restricted access to capital.
Startups face three significant financing challenges: a lack of local infrastructure, low interest in Agritech from institutional investors , and the difficulty to attract large-ticket investments.
Despite all these, there are still some Agritech startups in Africa, that have proven to be doing well, and will continue to do even better with time.
This article will bring them closer to you in words.
But before that, let’s understand what an Agrictech is.
What is the meaning of AgriTech?
Agritech refers to the application of technological innovations to agriculture to boost output, efficiency, and profitability.
It involves using technologies to accomplish quicker and more efficient planting, modified crops that grow well in different environments, and cultivation.
It involves employing robots, big data, artificial intelligence, and other technologies to address agricultural challenges.
Agricultural technology, in simply the use of technology to produce more with less, to improve the efficiency of the agricultural process from field monitoring through the food supply chain.
Innovative Agritech Startups in Africa
1. Twiga Foods
Twiga Foods was launched in 2014 by Peter Njojo and Grant Brooke as a B2B food marketplace, to improve African retail, the organisation uses technology, contemporary distribution, and logistics.
It links farmers and traders, enabling food to be acquired and delivered throughout Kenya.
In Kenya, the firm has decreased usual post-harvest losses from 30% to 4% for crops sold via the Twiga network.
Twiga fintech product has also been added to the organisation, which provides merchants with finance to help them grow their enterprises.
Twiga Foods has aided over 17,000 fresh food producers since its inception in 2014 by providing thrice-weekly deliveries to 8,000 merchants.
Total Funding: $157.1 Million
2. Apollo Agriculture
Apollo Agriculture is dedicated to assisting smallholder farmers in increasing their income.
This Kenyan agritech startup, founded by Eli Pollak and Benjamin Njenga in 2016, uses technology to assist farmers to get tailored advice, high-quality agricultural supplies, and loans.
Most small-scale farmers couldn’t afford fertiliser, hybrid seeds, or insurance, according to the company’s founders. As a consequence, many people were unable to improve their earnings.
Furthermore, many smallholder farmers in Kenya rely on time-consuming and expensive manual and human-driven finance methods.
The creators of Apollo Agriculture recognised this as an opportunity. They looked for methods to streamline and automate these procedures.
To develop credit profiles for its consumers, the organisation now uses mobile technologies, remote sensing, and machine learning.
This information aids the company in making credit and financing choices for farmers.
The Apollo Agriculture business model has the potential to transform African farmers from subsistence to commercial agriculture.
Total Funding: $61.7 Million
3. iProcure (Kenya)
iProcure is a Kenyan agritech startup in Africa founded in 2013 by Nicole Galletta and Stefano Carcoforo.
It runs one of the biggest rural African supply chain platforms.
Across the supply chain, it delivers data-driven stock management and business insight. Manufacturers can trace their goods from start to finish to guarantee they reach their intended destination.
In addition, the firm delivers real-time statistics on market share, sales, and product performance for its customers.
iProcure provides organisations with useful information about client demands and trends.
This data saves businesses time and money while also assisting them in making more informed and lucrative choices. The firm also assists firms in providing prompt after-sales care to its clients.
The iProcure platform assists African firms in connecting with clients in distant places and gaining a better understanding of their requirements and purchasing habits.
Total Funding: $5.5 Million
4. Releaf (Akwa Ibom, Nigeria)
Releaf was founded in 2017 by Ikenna Nzewi and Uzoma Ayogu to harness technology to drive progress in Nigeria and Africa’s food chain.
This is one of the agritech startups in Africa that has experimented with technology in trade finance, corporate finance, and commodities connection between buyers and sellers at different periods.
The oil palm sector is at the heart of its present business strategy. The company buys nuts from farmers, cracks them using its unique Kraken technology, and sells them to huge food manufacturers.
The Kraken system is designed to produce 100 tonnes per day, 200 times quicker than a smallholder farmer using a rock.
The mission of Releaf is to build industries near smallholder farmers. This lowers transport costs and post-harvest losses while boosting processing yields and farmers’ bottom lines.
Total Funding: $7.3 Million
Farmerline is a Ghanian startup that claims to be the “Amazon for African farmers”. This is one of the agritech startups in Africa that positions its self as a marketplace
Farmerline was launched in 2013 by Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai with a mission to support African farmers with high-quality fertiliser and seeds, free education on climate-smart farming practices, and access to international markets by partnering with agribusinesses and farm associations.
The Farmerline marketplace combines a host of digital tools with logistics, field agents, farm resources and strategic partnerships.
Farmerline also licenses its in-house technology platform Mergdata to global food traders and manufacturers who use its customisable solutions to improve the operations of farmers around the world.
Total Funding: $13.7 Million
MLouma is one of the most innovative agritech startups in Africa that utilises technology to link participants in Senegal’s agricultural sector. It was founded in 2011 by Aboubacar Sidy Sonko.
Customers, enterprises, organisations, and suppliers are all brought together and placed in direct touch with each other, making it simpler for each party to voice their demands and discover answers.
MLouma does this by operating a platform that gathers and disseminates climate data. It also offers a community service as a communication network hub for industry stakeholders.
This agtech startup also provides a marketplace for purchasing agric products as well as a USSD service for distributing climate information to farmers.
In addition, the firm provides an online learning platform for capacity development. This platform facilitates the transmission of expertise among agricultural players.
In Africa, MLouma’s business model can help agricultural players sell and buy goods quickly and efficiently.
7. ColdHubs (Owerri, Nigeria)
Many smallholder farmers in Africa who grow fresh food don’t have access to power or can’t afford the cooling gear.
This is one one the agritech startups in Africa at the intersection of Agriculture and Energy.
As a result, they have more post-harvest losses. Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu founded ColdHubs in 2015 to assist such farmers in avoiding post-harvest losses.
ColdHubs is a solar-powered walk-in cool room that allows smallholder farmers in farm clusters and outdoor markets to store and preserve fresh food 24 hours a day, seven days a week, increasing the shelf life of their product from two to more than 21 days.
Each hub’s solar panels are connected to a battery storage system, enabling the coolers to run off the grid all day.
ColdHubs is now accessible in 38 sites throughout 22 Nigerian states, with plans to spread its technology and service to East Africa, Southern Africa, and a few western and Francophone African nations shortly.
Total Funding: $800K
Adamou Nchange Kouotou founded Agrixtech in 2018 to combat crop pests and illnesses that reduce agricultural output.
Farmers may use Agrixtech’s app to get technical knowledge to assist them to implement a better crop disease control plan on their farms.
This is one of the agritech startups in Africa that is heavily AI (Artificial intelligence) based.
To target farmers with poor literacy levels, the app employs text and speech recognition technologies in many local languages.
The software also provides advice and task reminders to farmers throughout the agricultural production cycle.
Francis Obirikorang and Michael K. Ocansey launched AgroCenta in 2016 in Ghana.
AgroCenta brings together all participants in the staple food value chain, from smallholder farmers to purchasers, on a single platform for efficient trade.
This is one of the agritech startups in Africa targeting the whole food supply chain.
Smallholder farmers in Ghana may also use the platform to get market information, storage and delivery solutions, and financial services.
CropChain and LendIt are two integrated digital platforms operated by Afrocenta to enable smallholder farmers to get access to markets and financial services.
Large purchasers of chosen cereals use the site to make purchases or negotiate long-term offtake purchase contracts with AgroCenta, while farmers use it to display their crops.
Smallholder farmers may use LendIt to get financial services from collaborating financial institutions, such as mobile payments, microloans, crop insurance, and pensions.
Total Funding: $2.2 Million
10. Agrimatic (Cairo, Egypt)
Food insecurity is a greater danger to human survival than it has ever been, because of a growing global population, limited arable land, climate change’s rippling effects, and delayed agricultural growth.
The need for a new strategy for food production that is not based on the existing paradigm is critical.
Mohammed El Naggar launched Agrimatic, an aquaponic agricultural startup, in 2014.
This Egyptian Agtech focuses on producing clean agricultural output by combining fish and plants in a closed system that replicates nature, with the plants receiving nutrients from the fish’s cleansed excrement.
Agrimatic is definitely one of the most interesting agritech startups in Africa, as it raises a variety of fish species and produces leafy greens such as lettuce, basil, and arugula.
To secure food security and sustainability, this startup wants to design a future free of hunger via greater productivity, and soil-less technology.
ThriveAgric is one of the most fascinating agritech startups in Africa. This agric-focused tech company was founded by Uka Eje, and Ayodeji Arikawe to provide access to finance, premium markets and data-driven advisory for smallholder farmers in Nigeria. In essence, ThriveAgric financed agricultural projects by crowdfunding through retail investors.
ThriveAgric supports smallholder farmers by helping them get access to funds to grow crops like rice, maize, and soybean. With the crowd funders (investors) getting a percentage of the profits from crop sales.
Total Funding: $58.5 Million
This is one of the pioneer agritech startups in Nigeria that launched via a crowdfunding model. it was the first agtech company in Nigeria to connect farmers with sponsors in a bid to boost food production and ultimately profits.
Farmcrowdy was founded by Onyeka Akumah, Akindele Phillips, Temitope Omotolani, Christopher Abiodun, and Ifeanyi Anazodo in 2016.
While Farmcrowdy started as a platform for small-scale farmers to access financing and domain knowledge, the agritech startup has evolved into a company providing food solutions across the agricultural value chain in Africa.
Total Funding: $3.4 Million
14. Hello Tractor
In 2014, Jehiel Oliver founded Hello Tractor, a tractor-sharing company.
This is one of the most interesting agritech startups in Africa as it positions its self as the uber for tractors.
The startup’s app gathers tractor service requests to help farmers with limited resources acquire easy and economical tractor maintenance, as well as provide extra money and increased security for tractor owners.
For tractor owners, the technology allows for remote asset tracking, fraud prevention, and equipment abuse prevention through virtual tractor monitoring. On the site, tractor owners establish pricing for their services based on market rates.
They are paid a deposit to deploy their tractors, and then the remainder is paid when the service is completed. From all services supplied, they get 90% of the income. The remaining 10% goes to the booking agency that is requested on the farmer’s behalf.
Total Funding: $2.2 Million
Aerobotic is one of the agritech startups in Africa with a focus on data analysis.
Aerobotic uses aerial images and machine learning algorithms to maximise crop production for farmers across the world. It was founded in 2014 by James Paterson (CEO) and Benji Meltzer (CTO).
Farm owners must join up for Aeroview, Aerobotics’ cloud-based pest and disease control programme, to utilise the company’s technology.
Farmers may assess dangers on the ground and analyse farm analytics data on a machine-learning-enabled portal after downloading and joining up.
Farmers use the information to develop fruits and trees and to determine which plants are healthy and which are sick. Their service is available in 18 African, Asian, and European countries.
Total Funding: $27 Million
16. Victory Farms
Victory Farms, a Kenyan tech-enabled aquaculture platform & fish farm.
Victory Farms serves over 15,000 market women via 54+ retail locations; it claims it experiences less than 1% spoilage due to its predictive data models.
Victory Farms or VF is one of the most exciting agritech startups in Africa because of its aquaculture farm that consists of hatcheries, deep water cages and nursery ponds for farming.
Total Funding: $8 Million
Mwiza Simbeye and Sikalinda Patrick established AgriPredict in 2016. Many African farmers lack timely agricultural information, which has an impact on their productivity.
AgriPredict gives farmers access to data that can assist them in identifying illnesses, predicting insect infestations, and forecasting weather conditions. Weather forecasts are also provided by the company to aid farmers in their planning.
When a disease or insect infestation is found in a certain location, AgriPredict sends out a warning. The Android version of the app is available for download, as well as a USSD version.
A farmer may snap a snapshot of a sick plant and AgriPredict will provide a diagnosis, treatment alternatives, and the location of the nearest agro-dealer in the region.
AgriPredict links farmers with markets for fair trading of their goods since marketing is one of the key issues plaguing small-scale farmers in Zambia. This definitely one of the agritech startups in Africa to keep an eye out for.
Vendease is one of the most interesting agritech startups in Africa because it specializes in procuring food supplies for hotels and restaurants.
The Agtech startup was founded by Tunde Kara, Olumide Fayankin, Gatumi Aliyu, and Wale Oyepeju to solve Africa’s food supply chain problems by automating procurement procedures, storage operations, logistics, and providing flexible payment systems to help food businesses grow.
Total Funding: $3.3 Million
Nile is an African agritech startup that connects fresh produce buyers and sellers by providing a platform for direct and secure transactions. So Nile is essentially a B2B e-commerce platform operating in the SADC region.
Nile has traded more than 10 million kilograms of produce in South Africa. That figure has since grown to 30 million kilograms, with buyers from five countries and 35 towns/cities across the continent using this B2B e-commerce platform.
Total Funding: $5.7 Million
South African agritech startup Khula! is an ecosystem of three platforms aimed at making the agricultural value chain more efficient.
Kula! was founded Karidas Tshintsholo, Matthew Piper and Jackson Dyora in a bid to allow farmers to sell produce directly to formal market bulk buyers while helping farmers meet institutional investors and access approved agricultural inputs and services from leading suppliers.
Khula! is definitely one of the promising agritech startups in Africa.
Total Funding: $1.5 Million
Every year, Africa imports tonnes of food. Food production on the continent is still poor, owing to a variety of issues.
There is a scarcity of arable land, an increasing population, a shortage of skills, and a lack of agricultural development to name a few.
Nonetheless, by leveraging technology to improve output, sustainability, and profitability, these agritech startups in Africa are writing a new chapter in the continent’s agricultural story. They’re showing that by adopting agro-technology, Africa can address its food issue.