YAP Proposal #280: Promoting Crowd-Funded Agriculture In Africa (Samuel Wachieni, Kenya)

crowdfarm copyName              :           Samuel Wachieni
Country         :           Kenya
Age                 :           35
Startup           :           Crowd Farm Africa Ltd (www.crowdfarmafrica.com)

BACKGROUND: I worked in the non-profit sector for 7 years. After close evaluation, I came to realize that, though aid maybe helpful, the recipients of aid would be happier if they were in a position to take care of their own needs without relying on aid. This dignifies their lives. After this realization, I started looking for simple ways/strategies that will work towards creating wealth for our people who may not have much; then the idea of crowd farming struck me and I started developing it. Simply put, I believe in the African potential and I believe African agriculture holds the key to our continents emancipation and greatly contribute to the Africa rising narrative.

WHAT WE DO: We are a premier crowd-farming company that uses technology to promote crowd-funded agriculture/shareholding farming, strengthen Africa’s agricultural value chains and connect smallholder farmers to markets. Our online platform (www.crowdfarmafrica.com) enables:

  1. Investors, both large and small to jointly invest in large scale high returns farming projects which are centrally and professionally managed to ensure greater returns on investment,
  2. Land owners to lease us their land for our commercial farm projects/ large scale production,
  3. Small holder farmers to join our out growers programme to ensure access to reliable and profitable markets for their produce,
  4. Buyers to have a reliable supply of high quality farm produce and agro-processing raw materials at very competitive prices.

In addition, we enable our investors and partners to invest in other areas of the value chain beyond production including transport and logistics, storage, value addition, marketing and consumer outlets.

WHY: We are motivated to build this venture by a few questions that continue to intrigue us all the time.

  1. Do you ever wonder how comes that Africa imports close to $ 50 billion dollars worth of food every year yet the continent is home to 65% of the worlds arable land?
  2. Do you know that Germany is one of the leading coffee exporting countries in the world, without having a single coffee bush yet, African coffee accounts for 12% of worlds’ coffee production?
  3. Do you know that Europe is the world’s leader in chocolate production yet African countries account for over 70% of the worlds cocoa production?

Why this disconnect? The answer to this question is the driving force behind our start-up.

The fact is, African agriculture, from production to marketing all through the entire value chain is extremely inefficient and pathetically under-financed. As a result, we lose very important social and economic opportunities to more efficient countries. This is the problem we are tackling head on and believe the solution lies in shareholding farming. Our model will be able to increase investment in Agriculture and address the inefficiencies in the value chain by promoting economies of scale.

HOW: We are using technology to achieve our goals. Through our online crowd-farming platform (www.crowdfarmafrica.com), we have already started recruiting users and the response is encouraging. In addition, our start-up was recognized as a game changer in transforming African agriculture by the Tony Elumelu Foundation under the TEEP2015. This came along with some seed capital and greatly boosted our morale and credibility as a viable start-up in this front.

To succeed in our venture, we consider the following as critical success factors:

  1. Strategic Positioning: As Kenya and Africa in general position itself as the next business and industrial frontier, the production of the desired raw materials (more so agricultural products) will rapidly grow. We will play a significant role in this process by ensuring a steady supply of agricultural products as well as increased returns to producers, create employment to thousands of Africans, reduce poverty and ensure rapid economic growth in the continent.
  1. Investor & Customer Satisfaction: Aware of the significance of investors and customers to our business model, we will seek innovative strategies to keep both parties continuously satisfied without compromising on either. This will call for strategic management.
  1. Profitability: We will strive to ensure that we remain a profitable company by diversifying our portfolio thus ensuring continued investment growth for our investors. In this regard, we will seek to add value to our produce through agro-processing.

In measuring our success, we consider the following as our core indicators:

  1. The number of customers willing to invest through our platform,
  2. The percentage on Return On Investment for our customers,
  3. The number of successful farming projects in our management,
  4. The growth patterns of our farming projects portfolio.

How we plan to use the US$5000 grant?

Activity/Item

 

Amount (US$)
1.     Establish a model grocery outlet to create direct markets for our farmers. 2,000.00
2.     Promote and Market our online platform through social media (Mainly face book). 1,000.00
3.     Establish a second grocery outlet in the process of establishing a chain of such outlets. 2,000.00

Blogpost and picture submitted by Samuel Wachieni (Kenya) – swachieni[at]gmail.com

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #280 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.

As a reader, you can support this speaker’s entry:

  • Leave a comment (question, suggestion,..) on this project in the comment field at the bottom of this page
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  • Spread this post via your social media channels, using the hashtag: #GCARD3

 

Have a look at the other “YAP” proposals too!
As a donor, support young agripreneurs and sponsor this unique project. Check out the side column for our current sponsors.
“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.


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