Nana Prempeh is the Founder & CEO of GrowForMe, a Founder Institute Ghana portfolio company whose agricultural crowdfunding platform allows farmers to scale up their growing operations, and for its investors to earn a fair profit via micro-lending.
Since childhood, CEO Nana Prempeh always wanted to be a farmer. After he did his undergrad in engineering and a masters in machine systems agricultural engineering, but then worked in fintech and payments for 5 years, he wanted to bring his fintech background back to his original passion for agriculture. As Prempeh explains in the following full interview with Founder Institute, GrowForMe is connecting key stakeholders across the maize and soya commodity crop value chains to create impact,
We crowdfund to enable farmers to farm; and then we trade commodities to pay back sponsors a portion of the profit. So at the core we are a profit-sharing, crowdfunding, and trading platform.
The GrowForMe system works to decrease risk for both investors and smallholder farmers, through a combination of facilitating direct access to buyers of the increased crop harvests, offering turnkey mechanical plowing and harvesting services to scale-up farmers, as well as leveraging external data inputs including satellite monitoring of on-farm conditions. Added visibility onto the farms from drone and satellite inputs increases confidence from the investor and buyer stakeholders, as well as provides agronomic data inputs, and improves access to services like crop insurance.
GrowForMe has achieved impressive metrics in its first season of operations, since July having grown to accomplish:
- $50k USD invested into farms
- 200 participating smallholder farmers (~1-5 acres/each)
- Anticipated close of ~$100k USD in seasonal crop contract sales
Theory for Impact
As Prempeh explains, ~70% of farmers in Africa are smallholder farmers, who each farm only ~1-5 acres on average. Through GrowForMe suppling farmer access to mechanical plowing services, it both saves them backbreaking labor and immediately increases potential farmed acreage by up to 10-15 acres per farm.
The increased acreage empowers these smallholder farmers to grow bigger harvests that increase their earning potential and lifestyle, and allows younger farmers to reconsider the option of staying in their rural home areas, instead of opting to move to a more urban area as is increasingly common. GrowForMe CEO Prempeh explains,
Our vision is to help make food affordable and accessible for all.
Mission and Vision
- Limited Access to Credit
- Farmers are Aging (smallholder farmer youth are more commonly choosing to migrate to cities)
- Labor is limiting
- Don’t know where to invest their money
- No visibility into conditions on farm
- Limited farming knowledge
- Controlling quality is hard
- Limited visibility of crop conditions
- Price fluctuation
- Transport logistics
3-Pillared Platform: Farmers, Sponsors & Buyers
To learn more, visit the GrowForMe website, where you can also signup to become a 2021 season Sponsor-Investor.
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