Sh60m tech plan to boost farmers’ fortunes


The funding is aimed at maximising agriculture profits. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Small scale farmers will benefit from Sh60 million plan that seeks to help them increase their earnings.

The funding from Apollo Agriculture, a financing and products platform empowering small-scale farmers, is aimed at maximising agriculture profits.

The Nairobi-based firm uses machine learning and automated operations technology to help farmers access everything they need to increase their profitability, from financing and insurance, to farming products and optimised advice.

The Apollo team brings together technology and operations experience from The Climate Corporation, Tesla, and One Acre Fund. The investment allows Apollo to continue rapidly scaling by partnering with more farmers, expanding its product offerings, and growing its team.

The financial round was led by Anthemis Exponential Ventures, with participation from Leaps by Bayer, Flourish Ventures (a venture of The Omidyar Group), Sage Hill Capital, To Ventures Food, Breyer Labs, and existing investors Accion Venture Lab and Newid Capital, among others.

The firm has already partnered with close to 25,000 farmers so far in 2020 with plans to enroll more under the programme.

“We are excited to bring together a world-class group of investors, with expertise across financial services and agriculture, to help power Apollo’s growth in the coming years,” said Eli Pollak, Apollo’s CEO and co-founder.

“Our mission is more important than ever in the context of Covid-19, when health risks, supply chain disruptions, and reduced mobility threaten food security for millions globally. Our digital model has enabled us to continue partnering with farmers to produce more food, despite the unprecedented disruptions,” he added.

Benjamin Njenga, Apollo’s Chief Customer Officer and co-founder said “every farmer, everywhere,” deserves the opportunity to farm profitably.

Mr Njenga said there are more than 500 million small-scale farmers globally, and average farm yields per acre across Africa are only 10-20 percent of those in North America.

“Apollo exists to change that. We partner with farmers to maximise their farm productivity and profitability,” said Mr Njenga.

Vica Manos, Partner at Anthemis said Apollo is playing a major role in resolving the funding gap for small holder farmers.

“The Apollo Agriculture team is solving a massive gap in the agricultural space by helping small-scale farmers turn their daily labour into profitable businesses. We are very excited to back Apollo on their journey to change the lives of millions of farmers,” he said.