Joshua Ajisope, chief executive officer and co-founder of farmFunded, an agritech and investment platform, has said that micro investors who are looking for opportunity to invest in the agriculture sector are guaranteed high returns on their
investment on any crops of their choice.
He said the company has put in place risk mitigation strategies for both existing and prospective investors, adding that such investments have improved the livelihood of farmers.
Ajisope stated these in an interview with business a.m. newspaper.
FarmFunded is a firm that promotes inclusive farming by bringing into the agric loop people who have cash but no time to farm. Investors choose a particular crop or farm to invest their money on with a predictable return on investment from the platform provider at the end of a crop cycle.
Ajisope hinted that with this form of investment, rural farmers who are unable to carry out modern farming practices due
to lack of access to credit facilities by allied financial institutions are now doing so with funds provided by investors for the farmers to enable them carryout mechanized and improved system of farming.
However, with the outcry and rejection of our local agric produce at the international market, he assured would be farmers that his firm’s services provide farmers in rural areas access to the use of good, improved and standard seedlings of all crop types thereby promoting food security according to global best practices.
He said, “Rural farmers basically, they don’t have access to technology, our rural farmers don’t have access to tractorization- they can’t afford to buy tractors- they can’t afford good seeds. Some of the farmers that I know in the past, they use seeds from the harvest of the last season but what we do is to get good and improved seedlings from companies that sell seeds and get the seeds to the
farmers for them to grow.
“We are improving the livelihood of farmers in a way for instance, we have partners that are into tractorizarion and we provide our
framers with the tractors for them to work with on their farms, we also provide farmers with access to mechanized sprayers for them to apply herbicides and pesticides on their farms.
“We also provide them with access to market because, most farmers, after they’ve planted and harvested, they don’t know who sell to, they don’t have a profitable market, so, we’re improving the livelihood of the farmers where they can get a profitable market when they would want to sell their farm produce.”
Ajisope allayed the fear of investors saying that they have nothing to worry about their investments as they are safe with backing from agric insurance companies. He added that investors can fund a farm with minimum of N50,000 thereby assuring them a guaranteed 12 to 50 percent return on investment based on crops specific within a 4 – 12 months crop cycle. He said that with over 500 farmers on their
platform, farmers are duly compensated from the invested fund from investors based on a sharing formula.
“We have risk mitigation strategy in place. We have our farms insured by reputable organizations in the agric insurance services; we have Leadway Assurance that provides us with comprehensive agric insurance over the farms so, the farms are been insured. Secondly, we also hedge our farm produce against fluctuations in prices in the market, we have off-takers that are ready to off-take. For those off-takers, we have sold out the perishable produce by hedging those crops against other crops.
For example, we have hedged chili pepper crop that is perishable with potato. If there is going to be downfall in the price of chili pepper we would hedge it potato such that there can’t be a fall in the price of potatoes. So, the profit from that is used to upset the chili pepper. So, those are part of the risk mitigations strategies that we have.
“The minimum we’ve had in the past is N7,500 but at the moment, that farm is not available for funding, the farm that we have available for funding now is N50,000. For crop specific, with the range it is not fixed, we deliver to our investors duration specific, so, it’s between 12 percent in four months to as high as 50 percent
in a year.
“we have a sharing formula which is topmost and that is the funds that have been invested for the farmers to work with we are able to remove that then, there is the returns that we promised our investors. There is transparency in it and the leftover will be
shared with the company and the farmers”.
He commended investors on their response to the new investment platform.
He said, “Our target markets are investors who want to grow their funds, the risk neutral investors and not the investors who running from risks because farming risk but in as much as we have risk mitigation strategies to mitigate those risks we are on good track but so far so good, we’ve appreciable progress, we have investors patronize our farms.”