Today, more than ever, Africa is increasingly faced with a food security crisis. With an increasing population projected to more than double by 2050, demand for food is expected to double over the same period.
At the heart of it all we have the smallholder farmers who are responsible for about 80% of crop production in Sub-Saharan Africa and have to contend with the increasing effects of climate change. In addition to this, and despite their socioeconomic importance, smallholder farmers have little or no access to finance (credit), and this affects their ability to invest in the technologies and inputs they need to increase their yields and incomes.
With access to finance, smallholder farmers will be able to procure improved inputs like quality fertilizers, seedlings, machinery, labour etc. The improved inputs can help increase farmer yields and incomes (by 100% on the average). This will go a long way in meeting the increasing demand for food.
Financial institutions who might be interested in lending to this market (agribusinesses and smallholder farmers) face a number of risks and challenges such as seasonality and irregular cash flows; transaction costs; and systemic risks, such as floods, droughts, and plant diseases. In order to effectively analyse and monitor credit portfolio risk at scale for this segment, these financial institutions need access to operational data on these farmers and their farmlands.
This is where TradeBuza comes in. Tradebuza recognized the issue of data and information gap between farm and financial institutions and developed a Data & API infrastructure for last mile operations and smallholder finance. Their platform helps capture last mile smallholder farmer and farm data. It also leverages satellite and remote sensing technology to help financiers manage their agriculture lending operations (pre-loan assessment and ag-portfolio monitoring) at scale. This allows financiers save time and cost and expand their market while also helping millions of smallholder farmers gain access to more financial services. In the last 3 years, over 1 million smallholder farmers have been onboarded on our platform by our clients and we’ve had clients carry out pre-loan assessment for over 200,000 hectares of farmland leveraging our AgroAPI platform.
In November 2020, TradeBuza was selected as one of the eight winning startups to receive funding and take part in the NINJA Accelerator, a program organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in partnership with Ventures Platform Foundation. According to Nonse Eze, the CEO of Tradebuza, “the funding from JICA and the accelerator program has allowed us develop our platform further. Specifically we’ve been able to improve on our AgroAPI Farm Validation Service (helps with pre-loan assessment for smallholder farmers at scale) and our Farm Monitoring Service (leveraging Satellite and remote sensing tech). The mentors we had access to have helped us fine tune our B2B sales strategy and this has been really impactful for us”.
It is still Day 1 for Tradebuza and they intend to continue their mission to help increase access to finance for agribusinesses and smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa and emerging economies through our infrastructure.