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Startup Story

Crop2Cash is promoting prosperity through agricultural innovations

Group of hardworking ladies.

Startup Crop2Cash aims to improve the efficiency of 38 million smallholder farmers in Nigeria.

In the 1950s, before the discovery of crude oil, the Nigerian agricultural sector was booming, contributing as much as 60% to the country's GDP. This figure dropped to 23.4% in 2021, according to data from the World Bank. Over the years, the Nigerian government has introduced several policies in an attempt to rectify the situation and create more opportunities for growth in the sector. Despite all the interventions, there continues to be an infrastructure deficit.

In Sub-Saharan Africa today, over 60% of farming is done by smallholder farmers, who employ a large percentage of the continent's population. In Nigeria specifically, the agricultural sector accounts for up to 26% of the total GDP and employs 66% of the population. The majority of these farmers and their dependents live on less than $2 a day. These farmers are unable to actualize their full potential, due to low yields, which can be attributed to climate change, lack of capital, inadequate education, poor technological innovation, weak infrastructure, and outdated policies. Farmers on the continent need easier access to fertilizer, seeds, irrigation, and capital, but getting capital is a major challenge. Nigerian startup Crop2Cash provides smallholder farmers with access to formal financing and is digitizing the supply chain for agro processors.

Innovating around smallholders farmers’ immediate needs

Crop2Cash offers two core products, Cash Card and Supply Base. Cash Card is an Android-based digital ecosystem for smallholder farmers that enables farmers to receive digital payments and build their financial identities. Farmers can use simple mobile devices to onboard in 2 minutes and get access to banking and insurance services, plus digital payment identity verification, which work together to determine a farmer’s credit worthiness. Farmers are able to build their credit histories, receive payments, and take advantage of other financial benefits on the Cash Card platform. Many of these farmers are coming online for the first time by leveraging the virtual cash card, which enables them to access funding. This, in turn, results in increased inputs and farm yields and higher household disposable income. More spending power helps farmers acquire additional farming equipment and further grow their farming businesses.

Crop2Cash’s second product, Supply Base, helps agro processors manage their supply relationships with farmers and other suppliers. The digitized system processes payments from agro processors to suppliers quickly. Users can leverage the platform's analytics features to track loan repayments, streamline produce quality, monitor delivery, and make data-driven decisions. Supply Base is hosted on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to provide high-quality security and flexibility. Crop2Cash has also been able to leverage Google Cloud to run machine learning models to develop its credit scoring tools. This enables the team and other stakeholders, like financial institutions, to determine the creditworthiness of each farmer onboarded onto the platform.

Participating in Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa

Crop2Cash CEO Michael Ogundare and his founding team were a part of Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa’s 2020 cohort. They attended training workshops and mentoring sessions to improve their tech stack and product offerings. In 2021, Crop2Cash was selected to receive non-dilutive funding, Cloud credits, and ongoing support from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund at a critical period for Black-owned businesses trying to survive the new business landscape caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. As Co-founder Micheal explains “ The cash and cloud credits came in at an important period when we were just beginning to experience product-market-fit in its full effect. The support and recognition we received from BFF and the BFF team has helped us to raise more capital and close new partnerships that have increased the impact of our work with smallholder farmers.”

Crop2Cash has raised a further $450k in funding, developed new partnerships, and grown their users from 25,000 in 2020 to 300,000 in 2022. What’s next for the team at Crop2Cash? “We are looking to reach 1 million farmers by March 2023 and leverage Google Cloud to manage more services for our farmers and our suppliers,” says Ogundare.

What’s next for Crop2Cash

More partnerships are in the pipeline that will allow Crop2Cash to serve more users’ needs and expand into more states in Nigeria. New product features are in development, including one that uses satellite imagery leveraging drones, Google Maps Platform, and Google Earth to analyze the historical topography of land, predict what will grow best in the area, and determine the best season for planting to achieve the best yield. This will optimize the harvesting and cultivation process for local farmers.

“Easing smallholder farmers' access to finance and high quality inputs is critical to building a stronger, more resilient food system in Africa and globally.” says Micheal. In a time of global economic headwinds brought on by a global pandemic and geopolitical conflicts, with food insecurity looming, the need to improve inefficiencies in smallholder farming systems and agro-processing cannot be overemphasized. Crop2Cash is well-positioned to address these challenges.

Learn more about Crop2Cash