Mzansi Agriculture Talk

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Crowd farming can transform agribusiness

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Lack of financial muscle has always been a stumbling block to the success of most smallholder farmers. But this can change as new trends continue to be introduced throughout the world. Such a trend is crowd farming, which is finding popularity in the developing and third worlds.

With this in mind, Nigerian business columnist John-Paul Iwuoha has painted an entertaining and thought-provoking description of future multi-millionaires. In his analysis, Iwuoha states that across the world, agriculture is a big business and most farmers are financially well-off.

But not yet in Africa.

According to the United Nations, Africa’s agribusiness industry is expected to be worth $1 trillion by 2030. And it makes perfect sense. The continent has a huge domestic market, owns 60 percent of the world’s unused arable land, and has abundant labour resources, and a favourable climate in most parts. Still, Africa spends over $30 billion on food imports annually.

Iwuoha  said that a big part of the problem is that most of Africa’s food is still produced by smallholder farmers in rural areas. They are largely poor people who use crude farming methods and have very limited access to capital.

“But what if all of us in the cities pool funds together, invest in these rural farmers, and take a share of the profits at harvest time? “Wouldn’t that significantly boost food production, cut down the continent’s food import bill, and make more money for both the investors and the farmers? This business model is called “crowd farming”, and it’s a trend that could totally transform the face of agribusiness in Africa.

In Nigeria, two crowd farming platforms — FarmCrowdy and ThriveAgric — enable working-class Nigerians to crowd-sponsor farming projects and earn a share in the returns at harvest time. Last year, FarmCrowdy raised $1 million from US investors to expand its operations.

In Somalia, Ari.Farm is an online marketplace and crowd farming platform that enables investors from across the world to play in the Somali livestock market.

In South Africa, Livestock Wealth, helps investors to own pregnant cows, and track them through a mobile app. Once the calf reaches seven months, it is sold to a feedlot or slaughterhouse and the return for the beef goes to the investors.

He said that as Africa’s population doubles over the next 30 years, the business opportunities in Africa ‘s agribusiness space are very likely to produce a league of millionaires who made their money while pulling thousands of farmers out of poverty.

Crowd farming can transform agribusiness
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