Farm Capital Africa, an investment platform for sustainable agribusiness activities, is redesigning lending culture in the continent, thanks to its unique model where it offers its clients both capital and technical expertise to boost their agricultural activities, share profit and losses before pulling out after a period of at most two years.
The model which aims to nurture young agroprenuers aged between 25-35 years does not only cushion farmers from bank’s prohibitive interest rates but also point the youth to the economic opportunities that lie in agriculture at a time majority of them are migrating to urban centers in search of elusive white collar jobs.
According Farm Capital Founder Alex Muriu, the company walks with the farmer through all farming adventures, offering first hand expertise in a bid to minimize losses. He said that the company’s objective is to help passionate farmers realize their dreams. ” At Farm Capital, we understand that a loss is part of the business process especially in farming therefore we help our farmers manage the burden,” said Muriu.
Those willing to join the programme must be full time farmers within the set age bracket, have proof of land ownership or lease and have reliable access to water. Founded in 2013, the company has invested extensively in Strawberry farming, and is currently seeking Agropreneurs in other sectors. Peter Muiruri’s strawberry farm in Athi River had only 400 crops before Farm Capital took him on board.
According to Muiruri, thoughts of seeking credit from local banks killed his hopes of excelling in strawberry farming. Equipped with experts in strawberry farming, financial muscle and desire to uplift young farmers, Farm Capital invested Sh1 Million in Muiruri’s farm which has helped him expand to 6000 crops. ” They helped me increase my production rate 15 times,” he explained.
After the first produce, the company calculates its investment in the farm and agrees with the owner on how to share profit that enable it recover the capital. For instance if the company’s total investment is Sh1 million and the farm produce is Sh1.2 million shillings after three months for the two year period, the farmer can easily repay the company its investment costs with the produce of one season. Muiruri who is servicing what the company invested in his farm said that the repayment model is the most comfortable ever.“We only make money when the Farmer makes money”, explained Muriu.