Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Innovation Hub

Hot startup of the month: Cameroon's Agrix Tech

Article Image
Climate change is fueling an upsurge of crop pests in Africa and if not well managed these insect pests could cut crop production by roughly half.

According to a study by the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International, African farmers lose an estimated 49% of expected total crop yield per annum – the highest in the world.

Furthermore, researchers argue that global warming boosts population and insect appetite, and fastens the metabolic rate of insect pests, thereby causing them to consume more.

To help African farmers tackle crop pests and plant diseases from their source, as well as assist farmers in getting access to finance, Cameroonian-based startup Agrix Tech believes it has the solution.

"At Agrix Tech, we help farmers to get technical knowledge to assist them to implement a better crop disease control plan on their farms. Moreover, using its AI [artificial intelligence] capabilities, the app then assists farmers to get automated business plans that gets them access to finance," said Adamou Nchange Kouotou, Agrix Tech co-founder and CEO in an interview with Connecting Africa.

"We help small-scale farmers transition from subsistence farming to commercial farming and maximize their profit," Kouotou added.

Established in 2018, Agrix Tech's technology not only helps detect plant diseases and offers preventative measures, but the company also helps farmers get access to loans from different financial institutions.

Three-part strategy

Agrix Tech's business involves three elements – firstly, Cameroonian farmers can download the app and get educated on the important skill to adopt a better crop disease management strategy for their farm and therefore become more productive.

Using the app, farmers can scan unhealthy crops and with a recorded video automatically analyze them using machine learning techniques, and then farmers are given treatment recommendations.

Agrix Tech is working with 1,100 farmers, of which 40% are women. The company has helped finance 380 projects in Cameroon and has assisted 124,000 farmers get access to loans.  (Source: Agrix Tech)
Agrix Tech is working with 1,100 farmers, of which 40% are women. The company has helped finance 380 projects in Cameroon and has assisted 124,000 farmers get access to loans.
(Source: Agrix Tech)

Secondly, the app helps farmers use their automated business plans to apply for finance from financial institutions in Cameroon.

Thirdly, the app bundles a number of services together to provide farmers with everything they need, from financing to farm inputs, advice, insurance and market access.

"Agrix Tech uses machine learning and satellite data to enable better credit decisions, and automated operations keep costs low and processes scalable," Kouotou continued.

Agrix Tech also provides a web platform, that allows farmers to sell their produce to processing companies as well as the public.

"The app provides both text and voice recognition technology in customized African local languages so that everyone using it can understand what is going on," he added.

Agrix Tech works with partners

The agritech startup has partnered with microfinance companies as well as processing companies to help farmers transition to commercial farming and maximize their profit.

"We help farmers and breeders to obtain agricultural microcredit from our financial partners. The purpose of this funding is to enable farmers in our community to grow their farms or to revive themselves in the event of bankruptcy," Kouotou said.

He added that the company help farmers and breeders to sell the products from their farms, thanks to partnerships Agrix Tech has forged with large buyers, which allow farmers in Cameroon to sell their productions at better prices.

"In addition, we help them avoid post-harvest losses by helping them sell their produce quickly before it rots in their hands," Kouotou explained.

"Microfinance institutions provide loans to farmers as well as processing companies like brewing companies. For instance, they purchase maize from farmers," the CEO added.

"Some processing companies also offer farming input loans, using our platform to manage their log income. For instance, when they provide a loan, they will want to know what the farm produces, they want the progress of the finances and so on," he continued.

According to its website, currently, Agrix Tech is working with 1,100 farmers, of whom 40% are women. The company has helped finance 380 projects in the country and has assisted 124,000 farmers get access to loans.

Expansion plans

Kouotou believes that for farmers to thrive in the African farming ecosystem they need to adopt technology.

Having created an app in Cameroon, Agrix Tech is planning on moving to other markets in Africa in 2024.

"We want to perfect the Cameroonian market first and offer farmers we work with the best service before we can move on to other markets on the continent," the CEO added.

Even though the regulatory framework in Cameroon is somewhat difficult, Kouotou believes that collaboration will overcome any such obstacles.

Agrix Tech's technology helps detect plant diseases and offers prevention measures for farmers.  (Source: AgrixTech)
Agrix Tech's technology helps detect plant diseases and offers prevention measures for farmers.
(Source: AgrixTech)

"We have to comply with the regulation so that we get the job done and it has not prevented us from doing our job," he continued.

In terms of technology, Agrix Tech has the competitive edge against other companies that are providing a similar service, the CEO claimed.

"However, there are companies that are working with us and offer services like measuring soil contents and things like that, but there isn't a company that I would say does what we do, from a technological point of view," Kouotou asserted.

There are other microfinance companies in Cameroon that are offering farmers loans, but those companies are totally different from how Agrix Tech does its business, he continued.

Agrix Tech funding pipeline

Kouotou said that even though the agritech startup is helping farmers in Cameroon, the company is still a business that needs to make money at the end of the day.

"For every client that the financial institution we work with accepts and grants a loan, based on the analysis we have conducted, we charge them a fee. So, for every business plan that the financial institution uses, they will pay us an average of US$60 per deal," he added.

The company also charges the processing companies they work with US$30 per hectare, to use their intel. Furthermore, the company takes a 5% cut on all the products that farmers sell through the Agrix Tech website.

There are other agritech startups that are digitizing farming like Agrix Tech in Africa.

Shamba Pride helps farmers access high-quality farm inputs, financing, insurance and access through an online-to-offline platform that provides tools and technology to retailers to train them to provide quality agricultural products, finance and insurance to their farmers.

Another one is Rwandan agritech startup Smart Ikigega, which aims to help farmers eliminate post-harvest loss by helping them gain access to finance and harvest insurance.

Related posts:

*Top image is of Agrix Tech Co-Founder and CEO Adamou Nchange Kouotou. (Source: Agrix Tech).

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Visa shortlists fintech startups for accelerator program

Payments giant Visa has announced the 18 startups from sub-Saharan Africa that were shortlisted for the second cohort of its Africa Fintech Accelerator program.

Story

Leveraging agritech to build resilience against climate change

ICT analyst Francis Hook discusses agritech in Africa and how the agricultural sector is using technology to build resilience against the negative effects of climate change and to ensure food security.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Leveraging agritech to build resilience against climate change

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook discusses agritech in Africa and how the agricultural sector is using technology to build resilience against the negative effects of climate change and to ensure food security.

Story

Omdia View: March 2024

By Omdia Analysts

The failure of four out of the five submarine cables deployed on the western shore of Africa in March 2024 led to a massive Internet outage across several countries. The outage fueled demand for satellite broadband, with SpaceX's Starlink becoming increasingly popular. That and more 5G and streaming news in the latest Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002