“Our core business is to connect farmers to structured financing solutions to help them grow their capacity,” Emem Essien notes. Crop2Cash is a digital solutions provider that aims to get farmers credible credit solutions for their businesses. We developed a USSD service where farmers dial a code and they can get their credit status verified. Once approved, they get access to financing from our partner banks and financial institutions. The platform is available not only in English but also in Hausa. By the end of 2022, it will also be available in Yoruba.
Our goal is to easily share the transaction data of farmers on our platform with our banking partners and directly connect them to farmers. On top of this service, we also have a digital marketplace, where farmers can get inputs such as agrochemicals, fertilizers, mechanization and other farming inputs along the agriculture value chain. We have strategic partners in the agricultural value chain which allows us to give farmers access to these inputs. Since 2018, Crop2Cash has raised close to 2 million USD in grant funding.
To date, we have attracted about 400,000 users on our platform across 15 Nigerian states, mostly in Northern Nigeria. We have more than 900 active agents in the field onboarding the farmers and, on top of that, we have more than 30 employees on our payroll. Over the past four years, we have attracted the attention of development finance corporations such as USAID, German Development Corporation, and JICA and they have also been giving us access to farmers within their communities from the projects or programs they are conducting.
In July 2022, we added a partnership with USAID to offer agricultural extension services under Feed the Future. The goal is to work in five states and along five commodity value chains which cut across crop production, aquaculture etc. Our role is to create access to financing for the selected farmers within the next five years. We have onboarded about 5 million farmers to get access to finance for 1 million farmers.
The Generation Africa Fellowship Program
When I first met my mentor, Dr. Hannington Odame, we started by analyzing where Crop2Cash is a business; from the challenges to the solutions we could come up with. My conversations with my mentor were more of an exchange of ideas because we both proposed the best solutions to address the challenges. It all boiled down to this phase of growing rapidly, managing customers’ expectations and customer retention. We agreed that we needed to shape our brand story based on our client feedback.
With his help, we settled on a model that focused on improving our social media presence and so we decided to onboard our social media manager, Heritage Osofowora, as part of the mentorship sessions. We incorporated the Hub and Spoke model into our company’s strategy and focused on creating the right content on our social media channels. This has helped us expand our reach, increase engagement and manage customer expectations.
We are looking to become a household name in Nigeria. We have been able to close quite a number of partnership deals this year. We are currently speaking to Airtel since we are doing all these things on GSM and, Airtel is moving to other African countries with similar market dynamics. We are looking to grow beyond Nigeria and expand into other African markets.
When we launched the USSD marketplace for farmers late last year, we closed 2021 with less than 10,000 farmers. For this year, we were looking to grow the number of farmers on our platform from 10,000 to 50,000 farmers. By June 2022, we had hit our target. We are now working towards getting our client base to 500,000 farmers.
We have been working with thousands of farmers based on introductions from development organizations, however, we do not have control of these customers. The potential is there; we have more than 400,000 smallholder farmers in the country, and we are looking to grow our market share and expand our product reach across Nigeria.
For more information, contact Crop2Cash on:
Interviewed by Juliet Hinga