culled from Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA)
written by Busani Bafana
After losing 700 of 1,000 catfish fingerlings in her debut fish farming enterprise, Divine-Love Akam switched to working in agriculture, a sector many investors and banks think twice about supporting.
“I have been asked why I chose a career in agriculture and I say it is my fish. Failure with the fish farm taught me about business skills,” says Akam, an economist and co-founder of eFarms, an agribusiness and agritraining star-tup started in 2017. eFarms is an online platform that allows farm investors to fund smallholder farmers and provides agriculture training for youths and graduates on agriculture skills.
eFarms won the 2017 CTA Pitch AgriHack competition held in Côte d’Ivoire so CTA is supporting the company to lease and cultivate at least 100 ha to 100 smallholder farmers across three locations in Nigeria and provide 200 ‘graduate farmers’ with on-farm training in their chosen field of interest. In addition, CTA is supporting eFarms to provide 50 ‘farm-ternships’ for students enrolled in higher education courses and raise at least ₦10 million (€22,000) from a minimum of 50 farm-investors.
Akam says she was motivated to enter the Pitch AgriHack competition to fund eFarms but she got more than she expected. Exposure to business management training and networking has helped eFarms solve the problem of access to farming inputs by sourcing funds from investors. Farmers are not given cash but inputs depending on the size of their farm and the crop grown.