Providing the opportunity for investors to fund a farm, empower small-scale farmers and share in their returns, farmignite is helping to increase Nigeria’s farm productivity, reduce food importation, and increase revenues for farmers and investors.
One year on from winning the Pitch Agrihack 2018 competition, the farmignite team has more than doubled in size – from 5 to 13 – and we have built the capacity of dozen of smallholder farmers in modern farming techniques.
Born out of a desire to make farming easy for every working professional, including Nigerians in the diaspora, farmignite intends to directly improve the wellbeing of small-scale farmers. We believe in a world where everyone has access to technology that allows them to grow food, earn a steady income and contribute to economic growth. Our company establishes and cares for clients’ farms so that they don’t have to, and we have been able to prove that we increase yields by up to 20% above normal harvest levels.
Our web platform, which provides opportunities for farm investment (collaborative farming), training and consultancy services was first launched in March 2018. Within 6 months, the website had 129 farm investors; we had caught the attention of busy professionals, who testified that they liked the idea of owning farmland without actually being there for the day-to-day running.
Through our web application, our services enable working professionals to establish cash crops at below-market prices with flexible payment methods, and all from the comfort of their own homes by connecting on their digital device. Our web platform is well-structured in a way that clients can receive farm feedback on their dashboard. We also have a very flexible payment mode so that clients have the choice to either pay in full or instalments, depending on their capacity, and payment can be made online or through bank deposits or mobile transfers. As soon as payment is confirmed by the accountant, our marketing department/customer relations department sends an email to the farm operation department stating the services and products paid for by the client and, within 1 week, work starts on the client’s farmland.
Business strategy upgrade
Farmignite received an award as one of the best early stage start-ups at the 2018 Pitch AgriHack in West Africa. The prize money was €5,000, which was very much appreciated by the company. We have also greatly valued the investment readiness training, organised by CTA and Suguba during AGRF 2018, and other numerous trainings and coaching we received – and we are still receiving as a result of taking part in the competition.
One month after receiving the award, our young team of five young founders and four contract staff had a 5-day intensive brainstorming and re-strategising meeting. The team was able to analyse some of the root causes of slow growth with the knowledge gathered at the Pitch AgriHack 2018 finals, and we were able to redefine our value proposition to reach a wider audience.
Before we received the award, farmignite experienced some challenges like brand trust and impatient clients. The CTA award has given us greater publicity, and 2019 has been a very busy year with about 260 farm investors now registered to our web platform, generation of NGN 5,104,705 (€12,500) revenue, and a geographical coverage of four states in Nigeria. Our website was not left out in the revolution; farmignite have been able to upgrade our farm update feature by including automated email notifications on every farm update sent to users by field officers, and we are currently upgrading the feature to include SMS notifications. We have also incorporated chatbox to improve user experience.