"The Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report, 2018-2019" reveals that the uptake of D4Ag solutions among women in sub-Saharan Africa is low. Though up to 50% of farmers there are women, D4Ag registration among them is approximately 25%. However, at least one young woman is changing the narrative by not only using but creating a digital solution to promote food security. Caroline Pomeyie is co-founder and CEO of ProFish Ghana Limited, a start-up with huge potential to transform the fishing industry.
ProFish was founded in 2018 to promote food security by leveraging on technology to transform the fisheries industry by working with rural fisherfolk. This was sparked by a desire to transform the fisheries industry into a vibrant technology enabled space that provides solutions to challenges in the industry. Our team is led by four experts in agriculture, logistics, communication and software development.
ProFish, a win-win opportunity
After months of market research on the fisheries industry in Ghana, we identified that market access and post-harvest losses among fish farmers as major problems. As a solution, our company developed Lojaanor, a digital supply chain platform that enables fish farmers to sell their fish harvest directly to customers.
Access to our service is just one dial away. By dialing a code with their mobile telephones, fisherfolk can indicate the fish they have harvested or captured. On the other hand, customers can use the same code to order fish. A partnership with a logistics company ensures that fish and other seafood are delivered directly to customers. Our customers include eateries, processors and individuals. Lojaanor, creates a win-win opportunity as fisherfolk have access to a ready market while customers can get fish at their own convenience. Already, Profish with one year in operation, has 135 recurring customers.
Pitch AgriHack- A platform for growth
As a young start up, Profish is always looking for opportunities for exposure and growth. Agro Innova, winners of 2018’s Pitch AgriHack, told us about the competition. The company, also based in Ghana, develops a suite of software enabled platforms to help with the efficiency and productivity across the agricultural value chain. To date, Agro Innova has trained over 1.3 million farmers, consigned over 50,000 crates of eggs and reached over 3,000 poultry farmers. Amazed at their growth and the potential for agribusiness like ProFish, we therefore anticipated the opening of the 2019 round and sent in our application. We had two reasons for entering, winning and having a large platform to share our story to propel our growth.
The selection process leading to the finals was rigorous as there were many other startups doing equally amazing things in the industry from all over Africa from which to choose. However, we were very excited to be selected because we had a wealth of knowledge and a platform that gave us great exposure. The additional training during the African Green Revolution Forum especially the capacity building session helped us to identify what stage our business was in, the kind of funding or investments opportunities available and the benefits of having a sound financial model. We also learnt how to raise capital.
Pitch AgriHack gives young entrepreneurs the support needed such as capacity building, capital and great networks. We were particularly excited that agriculture was the choice of focus. Africa is gifted with vast arable lands and rich resources to feed the world, harnessing technology and youth innovation is the sure way to go in promoting entrepreneurship and food security.
After going through the rounds of the competition, we were very pleased to be announced as the winner for the World Bank’s early stage start-up award. The journey was very insightful and crowning it with a win was awesome!
Profish will use the €7,500 cash award to continue business growth through the development of an integrated e-commerce platform and a management system for customer orders. Currently, we work with farmers in southern Ghana and we want to expand to other regions in the country. Our next product phase is a farm management solution for fish farmers.