The Agricultural Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa: The New Digital Frontier

Agriculture in Africa has massive social and economic footprint as over 60 percent of the population on the continent are engaged in one form of agricultural activity or the other. The sector also contributes about 23% of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP even though its full potential remains grossly untapped. Smallholder farmers across the continent are still among the poorest in the world. They are hampered by major structural and institutional challenges which make it difficult, if not impossible to actualize their full economic potentials. Other challenges such as – paucity  of funds, lack of market access, lack of access to quality farm inputs, absence of farm mechanization and extension services as well as difficulty in obtaining actionable data, have contributed in stunting the growth of the sector in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Opportunities

Despite the foregoing challenges, the agricultural sector in the continent is at the threshold of a new era of digital revolution that threatens to transform all facets of the ecosystem. AgroDomain, an integrated Pan African Agtech Platform is one of such disruptive vehicles championing the digital transformation of the sector in Africa with a view to tackling most of the key challenges faced by agribusinesses across the continent.   The Platform is a one-stop-shop that caters for the end-to-end needs of all stakeholders within the agricultural value chain, irrespective of size or location. Using cutting-edge technologies, the platform aims to transform every aspect of the agricultural sector through the creation of integrated solutions that enhance productivity, availability, affordability, connectivity as well linkages among every role player within the value chain.

AgroDomain 2.0 which is scheduled for launching soon is designed to provide renewed impetus to the ongoing digital transformation within agricultural sector by reimagining all aspects of the value chain from farm to fork. Each solution component of the platform addresses a unique challenge within the agricultural value chain in a holistic and collaborative manner.

Below are some of the key features of the new AgroDomain 2.0 Platform:

Agro Marketplace:

This is a self-service agro-allied trading platform that drives agricultural transactions by providing market linkages between and amongst various value chain actors and enables the buying and selling of a wide range of agro-allied product categories. It empowers platform members with the tools to list Firm or Negotiable Offers/Bids, carry out negotiation via a counter-bidding process, make and receive payments via an Agro Purse, arrange for logistics and confirm delivery, provides linkage between farmers and commodity aggregators / processors and accommodates direct transactions between farmers and off-takers across the agricultural ecosystem.

The solution also provides participants with the tools for better insights and planning and to make direct orders from farmers without the intervention of middlemen, thereby smoothening the procurement process.  The Agro Marketplace is designed to host vast and extensive agro-allied product types across diverse agro-allied industries. 

Agro Insure:

A multi- faceted and robust solution comprising of the Agro Insurance Hub and the Agro Insurance Marketplace components designed to help farm owners and agribusinesses mitigate operational risks while protecting their farm projects, agribusinesses investments and related activities. It is focused on helping farmers, cooperatives and SME/MME and agri-businesses create and protect their wealth by leveraging technology to access insurance services at affordable and convenient premium.

The Agro Insure automates the end-to-end process for Agricultural and related insurance coverage. It covers the enlisting of insurance products by insurance services providers on the marketplace, the management of proposals and quotes, payments of premiums as well as insurance policies origination and management. The system also automates insurance claims and payment management. The Agro Insure is tightly integrated with the Agro Marketplace, Agro Funder and Agro Purse thereby ensuring total transparency in risk management for marketplace transaction, agro project funding as well as payment security.

The platform offers farmers and agribusiness operators’ choice and convenience as they can compare various insurance products on offer and have options to request for quotes from multiple insurance companies based on preference. All related transactions from request for quotes to claims payment are conducted on the platform.

Agro WebStores:

The Agro WebStore is envisioned to enable agribusinesses, farmers, cooperatives, agro insurance service providers and all value chain players create their customizable WebStore within their own niche and personalized commercial space on AgroDomain Platform.  The WebStore empowers owners with the tools to showcase their Agro brands and exclusively offer their products in local currencies across multiple Sub-Saharan African markets. Each Agro WebStore is designed to function as a sub-domain and accessible anytime anywhere using such store’s dedicated and unique address.

The Agro WebStore component is conceived to help African Agro Allied SMEs to succeed, and to make it easy for them to conduct hyper-local transactions   anywhere within the sub-continent. It is also to enable traditional offline brick and mortar agro-allied companies have online presence for their products and services as well as sell such agro-products across sub-Sahara Africa. The Agro WebStore is an international and yet hyper-local platform that takes away the challenges of lack of infrastructure and technical expertise which had customarily inhibited the ability of Agro-Allied local companies to venture into broader continental market. It supports agro value chain players to enable their brands, customers and store on every channel (website, email, social and mobile) at a continental level.

Agro Funder:

This is an innovative & impact driven crowdfunding framework for the agricultural sector designed to engender financial inclusion and to empower farmers, cooperatives and agribusinesses with access to affordable funding to increase food production. It Connects farmers, farm groups and agribusinesses with viable  farm projects propositions to prospective investors through a project pitching, enlisting and funding mechanism thereby d bridging the demand & supply gap in agro-financing in sub-Sahara Africa. Agro Funder enables farm groups and agribusinesses to pitch and enlist their agricultural/farm project propositions to prospective and discerning agro-sector investors, in order to obtain the necessary funding requirement for such projects. Each pitch is evaluated carefully and thoroughly using predefined metrics and if adjudged viable, enlisted on the platform for purposes of sponsorship and funding by interested investors.

The Agro Funder is tightly integrated with the Agro Insure solution, ensuring that all approved and listed farm project funding pitches on the platform are covered with a 100% insurance coverage provided by one of our participating insurance service providers, in order to mitigate any risk while protecting the investors.

Agro Mech:

Agro Mech is our solution for scaling mechanization in small holder and cluster farming systems. Our integrated system links smallholders to farm machinery or farm mechanization services thereby engendering affordability and availability. Agro Mech is designed appropriate to resource small scale farmers cultivating medium and dispersed plots and addresses several of the major constraints to farm mechanization uptake across Sub-Saharan Africa. It is envisioned to help the Smallholder farmers, farm groups and agribusinesses to address the problem of high capital costs of acquisition as well as alleviating the lack of affordable financing for mechanization across sub-Saharan Africa. The solution provides service consumers with more choices and options while empowering machinery manufacturers, dealers and sellers with more streamlined access to better sales channels and sales leads. Parties are provided the options to Sell, Buy, Lease or Hire on mutually agreed and negotiated terms.

Agro Coop:

The Agro Coop is designed to support various tiers agro-cooperatives and groups in enlisting new membership as well as organizing and managing such members. It provides the capabilities for cooperatives to aggregate product demands or supplies at different levels for eventual fulfilment in a most cost efficient and transparent manner while enabling the consolidation/ integration of production and marketing entities in agriculture to achieve economies of scale and stronger presence in markets.  

Agro Coop facilitates farm data collections, maintenance of central registry, improved training, support for business planning, market analysis as well as the monitoring of geo-referenced service delivery. It also enhances access to suitable financial services to farm groups – particularly smallholders – and agricultural Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as a way to increase agricultural productivity and income.

Agro Net

This is a Peer to Peer Farmer Digital Advisory and Information Service that offers both on demand and periodically distributed (push) information and guidance to farmers, cooperatives and agribusinesses with the objective of helping them adopt better practices – ranging from the types of inputs they should consider to agronomic techniques, post-harvest handling/processing and marketing advice as well as overall farm business management tips.

The solution endorses e-agriculture in action and provides a solid framework for big data and analytics in agriculture. It features a participatory process for content production (i.e., topic selection and content adaptation informed by members’ feedback). Contents include photos, locally generated digital videos, questions and answers as well as informative articles around specific topics.

Agro Trucker

The On-Demand Agro Logistic component, is designed to be a most reliable on- demand delivery and pickup platform for the Agricultural sector. It is a secure and centralized marketplace which enables the onboarding and booking of third-party trucks for purposes of deliveries of agricultural products on location transparent basis. It is a mobile as well as web-based easy to use transportation exchange for the agricultural sector aimed at engendering product delivery convenience and efficiency across the agricultural value chain.

Agro Trucker connects agricultural logistics service providers such as fleet owners /truck drivers and transporters with agro producing and buying entities for efficient pickup, transportation and delivery of agricultural produce /products anywhere around sub-Sahara Africa, at the most cost effective prices.  The Agro Trucker also provide users with real-time visibility, cargo-in-transit insurance and proper communication channels.

Agro Purse

The Agro Purse which consist of the integrated e-Wallet and payment components is a complete payment and settlement platform that allows AgroDomain registered members to make and receive payments for all their platform related transactions. User registration and KYC processes are required to activate the wallet on the platform.  Once registered and KYC verified, users can easily fund, send and receive money from their e-Wallet  through multiple channels such as Direct Bank Debit/Transfer, USSD, Credit/Debit Card Payments, Barter, Mvisa-QR etc. The inbuilt e-Wallet and payment system is designed with high security features and integrates with a network of payment platforms. With the e-Wallet-based Agro Purse system, payments for transactions are transparent and seamless. Customers can also transfer funds from their Agro Purse
e-Wallet accounts to any bank account of their choice at anytime.

The Agro Purse is tightly integrated with the contracting functionality which automates the creation and management of transactional contracts for every transaction between counter-parties. Counter-parties can track each transactional contract entered as well as monitor the level of performance and compliance by the other party.

Click here to signup and be one of the first to experience the new AgroDomain 2.0 when we launch.

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