With agriculture being central to African economies, Farmerline, a startup from Ghana works towards transforming smallholder farmers into successful entrepreneurs.
Named by Fast Company as Africa’s second most innovative enterprise in 2018, the Western African startup connects small-scale farmers to world markets, information and financial services
so they can increase productivity and improve their incomes.
Farmerline has a proprietary software platform called Mergdata that offers decentralised traceability, certification audit, farm mapping, farmer education, and analytics solutions to help organisations that work with farmers achieve their sustainability and food security goals efficiently. This technology has collected insights from over 200,000 farmers across 11 countries, mapped over 700,000 acres of land, and farmers have spent over 300,000 minutes learning best practices on the platform. All of Farmerline's services are offered via SMS, and Android as well as voice-based messaging service to help reach farmers with low literacy levels.
The startup was founded in 2013 by Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai. When Alloysius was five years old, his parents divorced and he moved to live with his aunt, a small-scale farmer in rural Ghana. While staying there, he experienced the challenges small-scale farmers go through to produce food and support their families. Having made it to college, Alloysius became determined to give back to the people who supported him. This led to the creation of Farmerline where he now holds the CEO position. He is committed to empowering small-scale farmers like his aunt who are facing similar challenges across Africa.
Emmanuel Owusu Addai is the CTO and Co-Founder of Farmerline. He is responsible for the overall technology and product strategy of the organisation. Emmanuel has previously served as a Field Surveyor, GIS Developer and Consultant on multiple major national projects, including the Presidential Special Initiative (PSI) on Oil-Palm Plantation and Setting-Out of the Affordable Housing Project in Ghana. Emmanuel has also founded and worked within several technology start-ups in Ghana. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Geodetic Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and a Master’s in Geomatic Engineering (Geodesy option).
Last year, Farmerline was one of three startups to win the King Baudouin African Development Prize, which aims to recognise the achievements of young, African tech-entrepreneurs driving social change across the continent. The Accra and Kumasi-based startup took home EUR 75,000 (US$84,000) in prize money and got access to a wide network of stakeholders.
The Ghanaian agri-tech solution company was also selected to join the Switzerland-based multi-corporate, zero-equity Kickstart Accelerator and went on to be named second-best startup in the food vertical at the end of the programme.
Farmerline is planning to open an office in Zurich in 2018 and envisions a reach of 500,000 farmers in West Africa by 2019.