- Zebra CropBank, a Nigerian-based agritech, has secured funding to intensify its mission to provide small-scale farmers across Africa with relevant post-harvest options and scale.
- The Catalyst Fund, a global accelerator devoted to small businesses and underserved communities, led the round, though the company did not disclose the amount raised.
Zebra CropBank, founded by Buffy Okeke-Ojiudu (CEO), is developing a technology-enabled produce banking and distribution platform that allows farmers to convert their crops into tradable assets.
The company plans to equip small-scale food producers in Africa to become “price makers” in the agricultural market instead of “price takers.”
It accomplishes this by developing a post-harvest platform that enables these farmers to instantly trade their crops for cash or as collateral for loans.
With this new investment, Zebra CropBank intends to expand its operations by building integrated trading platforms and solar-powered micro-warehouses.
The business believes that these warehouses will assist in resolving problems such as insufficient storage space and poor market accessibility.
Building micro-warehouses close to farming settlements and renting them out to part-time farmers for reasonable rates is Zebra CropBank's proposed model for implementing this storage solution.
The company's USSD platform would enable farmers to store their produce transparently and safely while facilitating transactions.
Catalyst Fund explained why they backed Zebra CropBank, saying the agritech uses cutting-edge but easy-to-access technology to provide holistic and long-term solutions to African agriculture's three problems: insufficient storage, pricing transparency, and poor credit facilities.
The accelerator claimed that Zebra CropBank's micro-warehouses had already increased farmers' earnings by up to 90%.
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While many agritech companies focus on production efficiency, only a few address post-harvest waste caused by insufficient storage facilities and limited cash flow access.
This puts Zebra CropBank on mostly unfamiliar ground. It tests the startup's ability to navigate new territory while allowing it to dominate and lead Africa's post-harvest revolution. How Zebra CropBank uses this money in the coming months will determine its success.
Located in Enugu, Zebra CropBank has 1,400 registered farmers on its platform and five operational micro-warehouses.
The startup received the Global Startup Innovation Award at the UN World Food Forum in November 2023.