Ghanaian agri-tech startup Cowtribe hopes to cover all 10 regions of the country in the next 18 months with its solution that helps farmers access animal vaccines quickly and reliably.
Launched in 2016 and recently named winner of the Ghanaian leg of the Seedstars World competition, Cowtribe enables animal vaccines to be ordered via USSD, text and telephone, as well as through a network of community agents.
The startup sources and aggregates genuine and affordable vaccinations from large suppliers, and works through a network of qualified agents to deliver them to farmers.
Co-founder Peter Awin told Disrupt Africa African farmers lose over US$3 billion in income annually to livestock diseases.
“While farmers need a constant supply of safe vaccines that could prevent these losses, most of them live in rural and hard to reach places outside of the functional delivery radius,” he said. “Providers lack visibility in order to efficiently coordinate the delivery of services to these farmers. Ultimately, over 70 per cent of livestock vaccines manufactured never make it to the farmers who need them most.”
Cowtribe aims to fix this problem, and claims to be the first last mile-focused vaccine delivery platform operating in the livestock sector.
“We enjoy a first mover advantage not just in Ghana but the entirety of Africa,” said Awin.
Bootstrapped for its first year, which enabled Awin and his team to develop the concept, formalise a strategy, build a business plan, design the product, gather a team, and develop an app, Cowtribe has now raised over US$100,000 in seed funding. Awin said it was in the process of raising a further US$300,000 to fully address the market.
Since its launch, Cowtribe has served more than 30,000 farmers in over 120 villages, processing over 9,000 vaccine requests worth over US$100,000 in revenue. Farmers pay a US$5 activation fee to join the platform, while the startup partners with community-based service agents to deliver vaccines to the doorsteps of farmers, with Cowtribe charging a commission.
“Our customers report up to 28 per cent savings on vaccine purchases and our agents have been able to maintain sufficient stock levels to ensure a convenient supply for farmers in their territories,” Awin said.
The startup wants to grow further, however. It currently operates in four of Ghana’s 10 regions, but expects to cover the whole country in the next 18 months.
“Key goals include establishing first mover advantage in Ghana, building a strong brand equity and ensuring that it is economically non-viable for competition to secure market share within Cowtribe’s market,” said Awin.
“In the long run, our also plan to serve and expand into other African countries, most likely Mali and Burkina Faso.”