Last updated on July 31st, 2023 at 01:21 pm
Through her business, FarmWorks, Li Yi, a young Chinese businesswoman in her 30s, has made significant progress in improving agriculture in far-off Africa. Li set out on a mission to offer comprehensive solutions beyond the conventional strategy of giving loans because she recognised the unrealised potential and difficulties in African agriculture. Local small-scale farmers have benefited from FarmWorks’ focus on addressing the full value chain, from crop selection to market access.
Africa’s Agricultural Challenges and FarmWorks’ Vision
Africa has several agricultural problems, such as food shortages brought on by a fast-expanding population, land degradation brought on by climate change, and limited access to cutting-edge technologies. Small-scale farmers, who currently handle over 90% of local agriculture, have not yet reaped the full benefits of agritech developments. Li Yi recognised the demand for a comprehensive approach to help these farmers realise Africa’s agricultural potential.
The FarmWorks Approach
FarmWorks stands apart from many other African agrotech companies primarily serving as “lenders” to farmers. FarmWorks, on the other hand, adopts a thorough strategy to assist farmers throughout the complete agricultural process. Self-owned farms and contract farming are the two main business segments for the organisation.
- FarmWorks runs “demo farms” on about 1,000 acres of leased property under its ownership. These farms are centres for instruction, study, technological testing, and demonstrations. FarmWorks gives farmers the knowledge and abilities to efficiently enhance their planting procedures by conducting trials and displaying best practices.
- Contract Farming: FarmWorks’ contract farming initiatives comprise most of its workload. The company works closely with regional small farmers on these projects. FarmWorks offers farmers crucial tools, instruction, and advice in crop selection, cultivation methods, and market access. FarmWorks significantly boost farmers’ productivity and yields by graphically displaying optimal planting techniques.
Success and Impact
FarmWorks has had a spectacular impact on the African agricultural environment. The business now delivers more than 20 tons of fresh produce daily while collaborating with over 3,500 small farmers, 50 farmer field schools, and 18 outlets in neighbourhood markets. FarmWorks has also been successful in lowering distribution costs and loss rates. As a result, in just one season, collaborating farmers’ average revenue increased by about 30%.
The success of FarmWorks has not gone unnoticed. The Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund has led a $4 million pre-Series A investment for Li Yi. FarmWorks will be able to accelerate its growth and expansion ambitions thanks to this sizeable investment, further empowering small-scale farmers throughout Africa and beyond.
Li Yi’s pioneering use of agritech through FarmWorks has demonstrated the importance of holistic solutions for maximising Africa’s agricultural potential. FarmWorks has been a forerunner in revolutionising agriculture in Africa by working closely with small-scale farmers and addressing the full value chain. With the latest cash inflow, FarmWorks is ready to have an even more significant influence, bringing about improvement and long-term expansion for the continent’s agricultural industry.