AgroCenta - Market Linkage for Rural Smallholder Farmers in Africa

Full fledged agricultural trading platform connecting buyers and smallholder farmers for fair trade.

Photo of Francis
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Written by

I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

AgroCenta Limited

Year founded

2016

Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $100k - $250k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10,000 - 50,000

Organization type

  • For-profit

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Ghana

Headquarters location: City

Accra

Location(s) of impact

Ghana: Northern Region, Upper East and Upper West Regions

Website

http://www.agrocenta.com

Facebook URL

http://www.facebook.com/agrocenta

Twitter URL

http://www.twitter.com/agrocenta

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Exploitative buying within the agricultural value chain accounts for over $200 billion annually in Ghana. Smallholder farmers lose massive profits because there's limited access to a market to sell their commodities at fair market price. Logistical inefficiencies also account for more than 25% of commodities wastage in Ghana.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

AgroCenta's technological solutions focuses on removing the exploitative buying from the value chain and maximizing the demand and supply efficiency. The problem of exploitation is solved by AgroTrade which is an online trading platform that allows smallholder farmer to list their commodities online and sell at fair market value to small, medium and large organizations in urban areas. Farmers receive instant digital payments (via mobile money) once their commodities are purchased. TruckR is an on-demand trucks and logistics application that uses proximity based approach to match trucks to smallholder farmers so they can convey agricultural commodities from point A to point B to avoid wastage

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

AgroCenta has facilitated trade for more than 3000 smallholder farmers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions of Ghana since its commercial phase inception in May 2017. By facilitating fair trade, AgroCenta has been able to increase the revenue for smallholder farmers 4 times. Farmers have been able to reinvest in their farms (and expand beyond their initial 1 acre cultivation to 2-4 acres). For the businesses also, AgroCenta has been able to increase their production output by 40% through consistent and timely supply of commodities to boost production. Previously, businesses had to source for commodities themselves which was time consuming and inefficient and led to stalled production.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Grant: 20%
Revenue: 40%
Equity investments: 40%

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

We are transforming smallholder farmers into commercial farmers by increasing their profits

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

I grew up working on my uncle’s farm. He worked hard, for small returns. My uncle, like many smallholder farmers, lost a considerable amount of potential income to middlemen, who bought his products very cheap, , when he was unable to find the market for his goods.
 In Ghana alone, more than 80% of the 8 million smallholder farmers do not have access to a direct market to trade. and more than $200 million of their profits are lost annually to middlemen through exploitation. Logistical inefficiencies account for an additional 25% loss of commodities. These challenges bring opportunity. Commodities trading and logistics is a $500 billion market in Africa. These opportunities created an aha moment to start AgroCenta

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others

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2 comments

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Photo of Shirley

Francis, I must say that i like your initiative. This is particularly so because it is trying to eliminate the problem of middle men who take most of the profit but the farmer who does most of the work remain impoverished. This is the story in most parts of sub-saharan Africa. Well done.

One concern i have though is that of technology. Would all the farmers be able to afford the kind of technology for online services? Are you thinking of training those who are not educated on how to access this technology? This is important to ensure sustainability and coverage of this initiative. Thank you.

Photo of Francis

Thanks Shirley for the feedback. The point you raised about the farmers being able to access and use our technology because of their literacy level is a very valid one and has come up a lot during our proof of concept phase.

we have a solution! Farmers work through AgroCenta certified field agents who interface directly with the smallholder farmers. These agents profile and register farmers onto the platform, upload trade deals on behalf of farmers and are involved in the quality contro checks of all commodities uploaded for sale on the AgroCenta platform.