Yesterday, the 25th of June, 2019 at 12:12pm, someone posted this about us on Twitter which has led to a series of tweets circling the Twittersphere:
“Leadway provides insurance for Farmcrowdy. A client who has business with leadway wanted to verify the authenticity of Farmcrowdy and asked leadway about the service they provide.”
We will like to state clearly that “the client” and the account that posted this on Twitter, did not reach out to us to confirm this statement before posting this tweet.
While it may be difficult to trust businesses, not everything and everyone is out to kill you. Some of us, in this case, Farmcrowdy actually set out on a mission to empower rural farmers with a clear business model, and we have stayed true to this mission.
We have decided to write this post to, at the very least, refute all unfounded claims and rumours about our business, shed some light on what we’ve managed to achieve and continue to work on, and reassure our farmers, followers, sponsors, and investors that we remain committed to our mission and vision for this business.
To continue, this tweet led to comments like this:
One Twitter handle commented –
“They use the investments to farm, but usually record heavy losses due to bad Agronomic practices, and unreasonable expectations.
IMO, they are just there for the money and the ‘farming’ is bait.”
It’s really important that before anyone makes bold statements like this, you have your facts straight. For one, you cannot say that we record “heavy losses” because you have no access to our records. We’re certain that if this user was in any way connected to the Farmcrowdy platform, he’d know that we are very deliberate with how we communicate our efforts; sharing monthly farm updates (both video & pictures) with all our farm sponsors & organising periodic farm visits so our farm sponsors can see the farm activities and interact with the farmers firsthand.
Bad Agronomic practices? Farmers that work with us expand farm operations 5x more and increase their income by 80%.
If we were there just for the money, we wouldn’t be expanding into more states year on year, onboarding more farmers, adopting more crops and commodities (this year alone we’ve introduced Ginger and Cattle farms into our portfolio), and in response, seeing a significant increase in the number of our farm sponsors as well as an eager waiting list of sponsors who want to buy farms.
We certainly won’t have impacted on the lives of 11,000 smallholder farmers in 14 states across Nigeria and grown to a team of 50+ people with solid agricultural, marketing and operational backgrounds.
Farmers that work with us expand farm operations 5x more and increase their income by 80%.
There is also the issue of the so-called “government grants.” The only grant that we have received till date is from the GSMA Innovation Fund which was specifically aimed at supporting our efforts in bringing mobile technology to rural farmers. We do not have any affiliation whatsoever to any Government – Federal or otherwise, nor have we received any “Government grant.”
Well, the closest we’ve gotten to the Government was when the Federal Government decided to recognize our efforts by presenting us with the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award in 2018, handed to us personally by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari at the NAF Conference Centre in Abuja and when the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo visited us as a part of his tech tour.
The only grant that we have received till date is from the GSMA Innovation Fund which was specifically aimed at supporting our efforts in bringing mobile technology to rural farmers.
We really encourage you (and everyone) to please sign up to our mailing list at the footer of this page, download our mobile app and signup to the platform, follow and sponsor farms (when available for sponsorship) so you will be the first to read our updates.
Before we go any further, our CEO, Onyeka Akumah shared a Twitter thread to answer these questions in detail.
To read the thread, please use this link:
Farmcrowdy’s Founder & CEO, Onyeka Akumah’s Thread on Twitter
@TomiDee @asemota When we designed Farmcrowdy, we created a model that was never used before in Nigeria for the Agriculture space to fund farm projects. From day one, we started with 1 farmer and today, we have worked with over 11,000 farmers in 14 states across Nigeria and …
— Onyeka Akumah (@onyekaakumah) June 26, 2019
Farmcrowdy’s Business Model
Our business model is clearly stated on our website and mentioned throughout in our communications, but for clarity sake, we will reiterate our business model in this post in response to tweets like this:
“A business model is a plan for the successful operation of a business, identifying sources of revenue, the intended customer base, products, and details of financing.” Source: Google Search
1. A plan for the successful operation of a business: at Farmcrowdy, there are two parts to this:
We identify crops for the farming season, have a farmers integration process where we work with committed farmers in farming clusters in different communities, provide them with improved seed varieties, training on modern farming techniques and source for off-takers.
We provide a secure platform where individuals sign up for a free account, and select farm units they want to sponsor. We then use the sponsors’ funds to engage the farmer (see part 1) and at the end of the farming cycle, sponsors get their initial sponsorship and returns on their sponsorship.
We have an experienced management team, technical field specialists and a team of experienced individuals to ensure the successful operation of our business.
Please see our Process page for more details.
2. Financing/sources of revenue: We have received funding from investors like SocialCapital, Cox Enterprises, Hallett Capital; we also received our first $1M funding from Techstars Atlanta in 2017 as the first African startup accepted into Techstars Atlanta’s accelerator. We also recently received funding to launch Farmcrowdy Group, and very importantly, we get funding from our sponsors when they sponsor farms. All of this is public knowledge.
3. The intended customer base: everyday people who want to participate in the achievement of global food security through the growth of the Agriculture sector.
4. Products: digital Agric tech platform to empower rural farmers while sponsors get a return on their sponsorship
Partners, Media, and Awards
Our partners include Leadway Assurance for insuring of our farms, Syngenta, Notore, AFEX, AMO Foods etc., as technical partners, and countless offtakers who mop up the produce from our farms.
We have also been featured on several global and local publications like Forbes, BBC, Techpoint, to mention a few and received several awards.
On the issue of insurance, Leadway Assurance provided a quick response dispelling any fears regarding our engagement with them regarding the insurance of our farms.
We have also shared a lot of helpful links that will help you learn more about our business. Some of the links are featured below:
We would like to thank everyone that has supported us by sharing their knowledge of and experience with Farmcrowdy. Thanks for your concern and your tweets.
We will continue to make efforts towards achieving our vision to be the foremost digital agriculture platform in Africa admired for its impact on collaborative food production and boosting food security across the continent.
Please feel free to walk into our Head Office at Plot 5A, Block 114, Akiogun Street (Oniru Market Road), Oniru, Lekki Lagos or our Abuja Office at Sinoki House, Plot 770, off Samuel Ademulegun Ave, CBD, Abuja, Nigeria.
We also schedule farm visits and we’ve gotten positive feedback from sponsors that have been on previous farm visits.
We send out monthly farm updates to all our sponsors, we respond to comments on our social media pages and our customer care team is ready to answer your questions between the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm on weekdays via this helpline: +234 (0) 907 579 1999 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading.