AgroCenta was founded by two ex-esoko employees, Francis Obirikorang and Michael K. Ocansey in 2015 to improve the agricultural value chain in Ghana by solving two critical problems rural-based smallholder farmers faced namely, access to market and access to finance, be it formal or informal. The lack of an access to a structured market results in smallholder farmers being forced to sell to middlemen who buy at ridiculously exploitative prices. The lack of access to finance also means farmers are never able to move from being smallholders to middle level or even commercial farmers.
Our AgroTrade and AgroPay platforms solve these two problems. AgroTrade is a comprehensive supply chain platform that has smallholder farmers on one end and large off-takers on the other end so they can trade directly. This ensures farmers are paid very fair prices for their commodities and also allows them to sell in bulk since the off-takers are typically very large companies ranging from breweries to feed manufacturers.
AgroPay, our financial inclusion platform provides any smallholder farmer who has traded on AgroTrade with a financial ('bank') statement they can use to get access to finance. Some financial institutions focused on smallholder farmers financing have used AgroPay to better understand which farmers are risk-free to access loans. We have within a short time been able to increase the income of farmers within our network by almost 25%.
AgroCenta is made up of dedicated and talented people. Our core team is made up of project managers, agricultural experts and consultants, software developers, regional and district managers and field agents.
AgroCenta agents are the lifeline of AgroCenta's activities. AgroCenta agents interface directly with smallholder farmers in various communities, districts and regions in the Northern Upper East and Upper West.
AgroCenta agents are primarily responsible for:
1 Onboarding smallholder farmers onto the AgroCenta platform. Agents visit communities where smallholder farmers who deal in sorghum, rice, maize, millet and soybean are registered onto the AgroCenta platform to trade. Agents also work with farmer based organizations (FBOs) to carry out trading activities.
2 Facilitating trade deals on behalf of Smallholder farmers. Agents deal with buyers who wish to purchase directly from smallholder farmers. AgroCenta agents are trained in the field of technology, sales and marketing to effectively help smallholder farmers who have little or no knowledge of technology trade easily.
3 Gathering market information and statistical data. Agents are assigned to major trading markets across the country to collate data on market pricing for various commodities. This information is relayed to smallholder farmers via Voice technologies in languages they read and understand.