GrowAgric is a “Farmers First” AgTech company by farmers for farmers that optimizes the agricultural value chain for small and medium-scale farmers by providing them with working capital financing, insurance, training, access to digital record keeping tools and connection to buyers at the end of the farming cycle.
“My interest in agriculture was sparked by my parents who are farmers,” says Ore Alemede, the Co-founder and CEO of GrowAgric. Ore met her Co-founder Mr. David Njonjo at Antler, a global start-up incubator. “Our passion for farming and interests aligned. David is a farmer in Kenya whose vast experience in agriculture paved the way for us to dig deeper while seeking to understand the challenges facing farmers in the country,” she says.
The co-founders’ initial engagements with farmers in several parts of Kenya were a key eye-opener to the challenges facing the agricultural sector. Some of these challenges are: limited access to working capital, limited access to markets, harsh climatic conditions, limited access to modern farm technology, attack by diseases, and little or no income. Upon learning these issues, GrowAgric began its operations. “Establishing the company in Kenya was an opportunity for us to establish our brand in Kenya and the East African region,” she notes. Ore’s move to Kenya happened when she realized that back at home, in Nigeria, there were numerous agri-tech players in the agricultural sector unlike in Kenya and the East African region. “Establishing the company in Kenya was an opportunity for us to establish our brand in Kenya and the region,” she notes.
GrowAgric is farmers-centred. The company’s slogan is “farmers first” because “We are committed to helping farmers to farm better and earn better. This is what makes us unique and a perfect fit for our farmers. For example, with our business model if our farmers don’t make a profit we don’t either. Until they win, we don’t win and that’s the true meaning of partnership,” Ore adds. Since inception, GrowAgric has grown to empower over 1500 Kenyan farmers through providing access to finance, training, record-keeping tools, and buyers. The enterprise has committed about 250,000 USD to farm projects and over 4000 hours to training farmers who have realized an average increase in revenue of up to 750 USD. “Through our intervention we have a positive impact on 4 SDG goals; No poverty, Zero Hunger Gender equality, as well as Decent Work and Economic growth,” says Ore.
The Generation Africa Program
In 2021, GrowAgric participated in the Heifer International’s Pitch AgriHack, a competition which identifies innovative youth-led businesses with technological solutions to food security challenges, awarding the most impactful businesses. Ore won USD 10,000 in the Women-Led Category and was among the first cohort of agripreneurs who joined the Generation Africa Fellowship Program(GAFP) in 2022. “When joining GAFP, one of my expectations was to build networks with fellow agripreneurs from the continent and learn from their experiences in agriculture,” she notes. The program exposed her to an entire world of possibilities and ideas as she interacted with her fellows in the cohort. GAFP organized peer to peer learning webinars and this was inspirational and eye-opening to Ore. “Thanks to GAFP for equipping us with skills to tell our impact story better especially when seeking grants and investors,” she says. Amid the Generation Africa Program, GrowAgric emerged as the East African Regional Champion at the 2020 U.S Chamber of Commerce and USADF Digital Innovation Competition where Ore bagged 35,000 USD.
What Next after GAFP?
When asked about GrowAgric’s plans after GAFP, Ore said, “This year, we have set ambitious goals as a business. We are currently raising our equity round of 1M USD to expand as a team and our operations to other parts of the region.” The company also wishes to impact more women and youth farmers in the region from the 60% whom it has engaged over the years. “We are passionate about the youth and we see ourselves as a ‘message’ to young farmers. We aim to train more youth and empower them to take up agriculture because farming is a viable career too,” she adds. The company also looks forward to building more partnerships on a global scale that would empower more African small and medium scale farmers.
For more information, contact GrowAgric on:
This article was written by Odhiambo Obonyo