Africa’s Green Economy: This CEO’s Advice On Digitizing The African Agriculture Value Chain

Published 12 months ago
CF Des

Desmond Koney
Co-Founder and CEO, Complete Farmer
Ghana

There is no manual or playbook to tell you how to run a farm or even scale a business, as this agripreneur will tell you.

“I think a lot of times, especially for solving problems in Africa, you always underestimate then infrastructure gap that your solution needs to get to market,” Desmond Koney says to us from his home in busy, bustling Lagos.

Complete Farmer was built connecting three integral parts of agriculture; buyer, grower and vendor, connecting farmers to global food buyers and growing with them to provide a competitive edge across the supply chain.

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“I asked myself ‘how can we start looking at farming differently’?”

Koney went to the drawing board not as a farmer but as a qualified engineer who wanted to bring more success to the sector on the continent.

“I started thinking of the problem from an engineering perspective. Like, how would I have done this, if I were designing a factory or if I were using my production engineering skills to approach the problem of
farming in Africa?”

According to Koney, the reasons why African farmers struggle to scale and sometimes ultimately fail are
because the continent has supply chain as well as capital issues.

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The AfCFTA: A New Era for Global Business and Investment in Africa report by the African Continental Free Trade Area reiterates that already the pressure on Africa’s food supply will require substantial investment in order to guarantee food security, as the continent remains the only region yet to experience a Green Revolution.

“So Complete Farmer really started with the question of how do we improve and digitize the African agriculture value chain,” Koney says.

“We did not have a clear path…I wanted to build but first we really had to figure out what the solution really is. And we spent close to five years refining the model to where we are today.”

Complete Farmer is an end-to-end digital agriculture platform that provides industries with an easy way to cheaply source quality farm produce and it offers individuals anywhere in the world a convenient way to own a farm by eliminating the middlemen and farm produce aggregators. The marketplace platform allows global industries to build the supply chain and solve their agricultural needs directly, these are then exclusively brought by African farmers.

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“We’ve seen that data about what the potential for agriculture is in Africa,” Koney adds. “And then we’ve also seen that data for how food insecurity is increasing, especially with what’s going on in Europe.
And given that we are talking about food, which is really something basic for human survival, this is what makes this industry full of opportunity.”