Emmanuel Bankole, the founder and CEO of Agromarketplace Nigeria Limited, was voted as one of the 12 finalists in Gogettaz, a competition that involves entrepreneurs seeking financial injection and exposure for their business ventures from the entertainment company, Kwese Inc.
Agromarketplace is an online-offline agricultural commodities platform which provides 256 farmers dealing in perishable produce, a ready market in two days.
The platform which was founded in 2014 purchases the produce from the farmers then supplies them to over 250 agro industries across Nigeria before the produce perishes.
“We have so far purchased produce worth $28,000 from farmers .The produce include cashew nuts, moringa (seeds and leaves), sesame seeds, soya beans, hibiscus and ginger amongst others,” said Emmanuel.
This entrepreneurial venture secured Emmanuel a place for those contesting for the grand prize of $100,000 and two week mentorship program with Strive Masiyiwa, the founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Global, a telecoms group with presence in over 15 countries.
Emmanuel was inspired to start Agromarketplace after various farm visits in which he realized that approximately 75 per cent of the farmers complained of lack of ready market for their produce.
“When I was young I often fell sick due to food related sicknesses arising from consuming stale food, this and lack of a ready market for farmers inspired me to start the company so as to help them access markets faster,” said Emmanuel.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a third (1.3bn tons) of the food produced all over the world emanates from Africa. Despite this, 95 per cent of the urban dwellers, who contribute to the growth of the African economy; do not have access to fresh and healthy food.
This is because over one billion tonnes of food which constitutes about 70 per cent of fresh farm produce rots on the farm before it reaches consumers. The continent, thus, is still a huge importer of food although it has 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land.
Agromerchant, a subsidiary of Agromarketplace, partners with farmers and when the harvest is ready, farmers sell the produce online at www.agromerchant.com after registering and logging in. The company may also source, package and deliver (retail and bulk supply) fresh farm produce.
Emmanuel sends extension officers to the farms to ascertain the quantity and quality of the harvest before it is transported to the warehouse for preservation.
The produce should be certified by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, as fresh so that it is displayed on the website for both the local and international prospective markets.
“We also conduct doorstep delivery services to food vendors, agro-traders, conventional schools, exporters, restaurants and consumers, this is a step aimed at helping African farmers create wealth by increasing their profitability from 30 per cent to 70 per cent and boost food security,” said Emmanuel.
In addition to buying farmers produce online, Emmanuel is expanding Agromarketplace Nigeria Limited with two other subsidiaries; AgroHub-Initiatives and Agro-Enterprise hub.
With FAO estimating that 233m people in Sub-Saharan Africa are hungry and malnourished, the purpose of the hubs is to train at least 25,000 to engage in agribusiness, so far they have trained approximately 400 youth and rural women in the last three years.