Ghanaian agri-tech startup Farmerline has expanded into Francophone Africa with an official launch of operations in Ivory Coast, deepening partnerships across West Africa and accelerating its commitment to support small scale farmers everywhere.
This year marks a decade since Farmerline was launched by co-founders Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai, delivering daily voice and SMS agronomic messages to 800 farmers in Ghana’s Ashanti region in their own language through the company’s technology platform Mergdata.
Since 2013, it has collaborated with over 3,000 strategic partners across 48 countries, including government institutions, local agribusinesses, NGOs and food companies who have licensed Mergdata to support and improve the lives of 1.7 million small-scale farmers to date.
In line with Farmerline’s existing model combining local and global industry stakeholder partnerships, well-trained field agents, farm resources, logistics and award-winning digital tools, the expansion will see Ivorian farmers benefit from access to high-quality fertilisers and seeds; free education on climate-smart farming practices via a 1349 shortcode; and connections to international markets.
“We’ve worked with partners who have been using our technology in Ivory Coast for the past six years,” Attah said. “The time has come to expand and fully commit to helping Ivorian agribusinesses to drive forward the farmer and agribusiness digitisation agenda, including creating and distributing localised agronomic and farm services to support as many farmers in the country as possible.”
He said Ivory Coast was home to over three million smallholder farmers, and Abidjan was the centre of the Francophone Africa region.
“We’re very excited about the opportunities we see there and partnerships will be key to realising the possibilities. We don’t see this as a winner takes all approach or a zero sum gain. We will continue collaborating with local agribusinesses, farm cooperatives, our existing partners, government and food trading companies aligned with our mission to create lasting profit for small scale farmers and promote sustainable agriculture in the country,” he said.
Last year, Farmerline announced a Pre-Series A investment raise of US$14.4 million and grew its team across the West African locality. The company’s new regional manager of Francophone Africa, and country manager of Ivory Coast, Joel Amani Kouame, said Farmerline was excited to bring its solutions to Ivory Coast.
“Agriculture remains the core of African economies, and by bringing big data management technologies and predictive analytics into farming; alongside providing quality inputs in a timely manner, agronomic support and a marketplace for smallholders, we can make the sector far more efficient. We believe our approach to agriculture can create lasting benefits for small scale farmers and help drive economic growth in the region,” he said.