Nigerian agri-tech startup Agriple is connecting farmers to buyers via an online platform that improves market access, shortens the farm-to-table time, and cuts food waste.
Launched in August 2019, Agriple has built a web application that allows farmers to upload pictures of their farm produce along with prices, and sell to buyers in any part of the country.
“Ours is a farm-to-table service that delivers cheaper and traceable farm produce to businesses and homes. Agriple is bringing down the barriers placed on the sale of farm produce by physical locations, expanding the farmers’ market access significantly, and cutting post-harvest loss and food waste,” co-founder Vincent Okeke told Disrupt Africa.
Okeke and his co-founder Samuel Ogbujimma previously worked together on another startup, LegitCar, but are now fully focused on Agriple, given the potentially huge market it is addressing. Food waste and post-harvest loss is a serious problem in Nigeria and Africa – about 60 per cent of all food produced on the continent is lost to post-harvest loss, enough food to feed 300 million hungry people in the continent. This also costs farmers billions of dollars in annual revenue.
“Food loss and waste translates also into higher prices for consumers, which affects food security by making food less accessible for the poorest and more vulnerable groups, mostly women and children,” Okeke said.
“These problems persist in Nigeria and Africa primarily due to farmers’ poor access to market, unavailability of affordable cold storage, and inefficient transportation of farm produce. So providing farmers with improved access to market and more efficient transportation is a good place to start solving the problem, and we are already doing this with Agriple.”
Since launch the platform has helped its farmers sell over 60,000 kilogrammes of farm produce, worth about US$35,000 in sales. Agriple has about 300 farmers registered on the platform, and has access to thousands more through partners.
The company has taken on about US$10,000 in debt and equity funding so far, but is seeking more significant investment to help it scale. It did, however, recently secure its first franchise agreement with a partner last week.
“This gives our partner the opportunity to earn a percentage for every order made on our platform through them, among other benefits. This model will give us offline locations without us having to own infrastructure or keep inventory, but also will increase our sales by more than 500 per cent in the next 12 months,” said Okeke.
“We are currently operating in Nigeria as our primary market, and have plans to scale to one other West African country within the next 24 months.”