Nigeria’s First Agritech Start-up Firm Secures $1m Seed Funding


By Vincent  Obia

Nigeria’s first and leading digital agritech start-up company, Farmcrowdy, said it had secured $1 million seed funding from a range of international and local investors. A release by the company said the investors included Cox Enterprises, Techstars Ventures, Social Capital, Hallett Capital, Right-Side Capital, Tyler Scriven, Michael Cohn, Josephine Group, FC Agro Allied SPV, and Dr. Christof Walter.

Launched over 12 months ago, Farmcrowdy, the only African start-up from Techstars Atlanta’s 2017 cohort, connects small scale farmers with sponsors, who invest in a variety of farm cycles. A farm cycle can be anything from poultry (3-5 months) to cassava (9 months). The farmers receive on-the-ground advice from Farmcrowdy’s technical field specialists who also give them training in better agriculture practices and provide them with quality farm input. Prior to harvest, Farmcrowdy works with pre-arranged buyers who assist the farmers to sell their yield at harvest and earn a decent margin. 

The sponsor then gets their original sponsorship plus 40% of the profit from the harvest, the farmer receives 40% of the profit, and Farmcrowdy receives 20% of the profit. Farm sponsors can get between 6-25% returns after harvest, depending on the farm type they sponsor.

The brainchild of Nigerian entrepreneur, Onyeka Akumah, said Farmcrowdy had to-date recorded about 1,000 farm sponsors from Nigerians in Nigeria, the US and UK. The company has aggregated a combined 4,000 acres of farmland across eight states in Nigeria and worked with more than 2,000 small scale farmers.

Farmcrowdy said with the seed fund, it planned to expand into 20 states in Nigeria, from the current eight, work with 4,000 additional small-scale farmers, and engage a combined 20,000 new farm followers and farm sponsors on its platform to learn about the opportunities in agriculture and partner with farmers.

IPCR Commences Awareness for ADR, Need for Peace in Nigeria
By David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) has begun a nationwide tour to create awareness on the need to embrace alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.
The awareness campaign which kicked off in Nnewi Friday would be taken to all the states of the country to sensitize the people on the need to seek peace through amicable resolution of crisis through out of court settlement.
The Director General of IPCR, Prof Oshita Oshita who addressed a gathering during the flag of the Peace Campaign in Nnewi, Anambra State said the event was in line with institute’s statutory functions.
Prof Oshita noted that it was against backdrop of continued inter-ethnic tensions, herders-farmers conflict, religious tensions and insurgences among other social vices that the IPCR decided to embark on the nationwide tour to create the awareness on the need for mutual and peaceful coexistence.
Prof Oshita said the choice of Anambra as take-off point in the South East Zone was vibrancy of the state in seeking peaceful and mutual coexistence among indigenes and Nigerians.
He noted that peace was everybody’s business and that there was urgent need for all to embrace peace which he noted is a necessary ingredient for growth and development.
Prof Oshita noted that minor issues like herdsmen clashes in parts of the country was capable of resulting in wars if not well handled.
Governor Willie Obiano who was represented by Mmasinachi Umeh at the ocassion highlighted the importance of peace and dangers of conflict and urged Nigerians to approach conflicts with care and to seek amicably resolution.
5 Political Parties to Participate in Today’s  Ekiti LG Polls

Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

Five Political parties will today slug it out in Ekiti State local
government elections targeted at electing new chairmen and councilors
to pilot the affairs of the third tier for the next two years.

In the elections, the electorate will elect 16 chairmen for the 16
local government areas and 177 councilors for the councillorship seats
 across the State.

The two-year tenure of the present occupants of the position came to
an end on December 22, having assumed office on December 22, 2015.

The Chairman of the Ekiti State Electoral Commission(EKSIEC), Justice
Kayode Bamisile, who spoke in Ado Ekiti on Friday , revealed that
five political parties will be participating in the polls.

Bamisile, a former Chief Judge of the State, outlined the names of the
parties to include the ruling People’s Democratic Party(PDP), Action
Democratic Party(ADP), Peoples Party of Nigeria(PPN), Social
Democratic Party(SDP) and Peoples Democratic Action(PDA).

He added that there would be restriction of human and vehicular
movements from 7am till 2pm, saying this will be effected by the
security agencies acting on the order of the  governor, Mr Ayodele
Fayose , for the elections to go on uninterrupted and hitch-free.

Though, the main opposition party in the State, the All Progressives
Congress(APC) , has pulled out of the elections .

APC,  in a statement by its State Publicity Secretary, Taiwo
Olatunbosun on Thursday announced  the party’s withdrawal from the
elections, premising this on alleged suspected moves by the PDP to rig
the elections.

Bamisile said: “The five political parties duly filed their
nominations and they were screened . In the screening, we found out
that their candidates met all the requirements and their nominations
were approved.

“We want to charge our people to troop out in large numbers to cast
their votes. There will be early distribution of materials to all the
2, 195 polling units for the elections to commence in due course.

“Those who have clocked the age of 18 and had registered with INEC and
had already got the permanent voter cards will be allowed to vote.

“We have met with the security chiefs. We held several meetings with
them and they had assured us that adequate security will be provided .

“We also want to assure our people that there won’t be manipulations,
the elections will be free and fair and it will be conducted under a
violence-free atmosphere”, he stated.