Agriculture technology is a relatively small but rapidly developing segment of the startup economy. The agritech sector in India had only 43 startups until 2013. As of last year, there are now more than 1000 new enterprises serving the industry . However, with a total turnover of $204 million in 2020, India’s agritech sector is said to be at less than 1% of its real market potential.
According to an investment report  published by the global venture capitalist, AgFunder, the worldwide agritech industry, has a net value of $7.8 trillion, with total investments reaching up to $3 billion! It’s worth noting that Africa, in particular, has captured a significant share of this relatively unexplored market. Businesses in Ghana, Nigeria, and other African countries are showing impressive growth in this field. Entrepreneurs and investors in agricultural countries, including India, can gain valuable insights from the emerging agritech companies in Africa about how to contribute to their respective economies.
Take a look at some of the most innovative African agritech startups that are transforming the farming industry with their revolutionary solutions.
AgroCenta is a Ghanaian-based startup that was founded in 2015 by Francis Obirikorang and Michael Ocansey. The startup came about when the co-founders noticed the gap in the post-harvest value chain. A lot of time, money, and labor go into growing and cultivating crops, regardless of the total farm size. Given the nature of produce, even a slight delay or disruption in the sale of the crops can lead to a devastating loss for the farmers. AgroCenta was, therefore, created as a digital food distribution platform to link farmers directly to an online market where they could sell their commodities without any hindrances.
The company helps create shared value for smallholder farmers and businesses by utilizing cutting-edge technology to ensure end-to-end connectivity. It has an online repository called AgroInfo that farmers as well as businesses can refer to for gaining knowledge about calf-rearing, harvesting, production processes, and so on. Other solutions offered by AgroCenta include mobile money called AgroPay and an on-demand logistics service called TruckR. TruckR operates as a truck delivery service that farmers can hire to cart their supplies from farms to markets with just the press of a button.
AgroCenta was named Seedstars Global Winner for 2018 and secured $500,000 in equity investment .
Farmcrody is a Nigerian startup that has created a positive impact on boosting food security and improving collaborative food production in Africa. The mantra the company operates on is to ‘empower farmers with technology.’ And that is exactly what it has been doing for over three years.
Farmcrowdy provides farmers with data and market analysis tools along with unique digital solutions for pricing decision making, GPS, and weather data tracking. Its technology-driven products and services enable farmers to source the best seeds and farming supplies, streamline production processes, and maximize yield and profit opportunities.
The company boasts a dense farmer network of over 420,000 participants. It is active across 36 states in Nigeria, has helped raise over 3 million chickens, and deployed around $15 million for different farming projects .
It was the only African enterprise selected to join the Techstars Atlanta Accelerator Program. Here, the startup raised $1 million in investment from US venture capitalists. It also received an innovation fund worth $350,000 from GSMA Ecosystem  and is working round the clock to support small farmers in Africa by strengthening the agricultural value chain.
Aerobotics is a relatively young agritech company that holds promising results for the future of Africa’s economy. As is evident from the name, this startup solely focuses on providing insights to farmers using advanced aero robots, namely drones. People who sign up at Aerobotics get exclusive access to satellite data and high-resolution drone images to manage their farmland efficiently.
The company dispatches a drone pilot to every registered farmer’s field to track crop growth, tree health and size, etc., at regular intervals throughout the season. Farmers can access the multispectral images anytime and anywhere via their custom-built Aeroview InField mobile app.
Aerobotics has gained tremendous traction among African farmers looking for pest and disease management solutions. The company won President Macron’s ‘Most Innovative African Startup Award’ in 2019, expanding its series funding round to $4 million from $2 million .
iProcure is one of those emerging agritech companies in Africa that owe their success to their technology-first approach. Currently, it is the largest agricultural supply chain platform in rural Africa, providing business intelligence and data-driven stock management services.
iProcure offers the full range of procurement services, including last-mile distribution for both smallholder farmers and bigger harvesting companies. The platform helps maintain efficient delivery of farming inputs such as animal feed, organic fertilizers, and plant protection products, to name a few. Farmers who use iProcure can purchase their required supplies using mobile vouchers. Generally, the prices of supplies featured on iProcure are between 10% and 20% lower than that of goods sold in the traditional marketplace.
Based in Kenya, iProcure is around seven years old and is supported by leading national companies including Safaricom Communications.
While farmers in Africa face major threats due to the dry and hot conditions coupled with an exploding population and depressed economy, several startups across the continent are trying to find sustainable solutions for a prosperous livelihood. There are just some of the most innovative African agritech startups that have become popular for transforming the local farming industry. Other emerging agritech companies in Africa that are worth looking into include Thrive Agric, Twiga Foods, and Hello Tractor.
When it comes to India, farming is a profession of hope. The country holds the world record for the second-largest agricultural land after the US. More than half of all households in rural India are dependent on farming to make a living. Therefore, there’s a massive opportunity for growth for agritech startups that know how to capture the same.