South African agricultural technology (agtech) start-up, FarmTrace, which provides a cloud-based farm management solution, has secured an undisclosed amount of funding from Secha Capital and Hassium Capital to enhance its growth and improve the customer experience.
According to the startup, the equity investment follows a $1m seed round in 2018 and will help them offer farming cost savings and improve yield and efficiency.
Founded in 2015 by Jacques du Plessis and Werner Lategan, FarmTrace provides farmers with a variety of tools to manage and scale their operations effectively. The platform integrates remote oversight of farm operations to increase efficiency, claiming that such innovations can significantly boost yield.
Brendan Mullen, managing director of Secha Capital, stated that FarmTrace’s ability to address the needs of farmers, with solutions that resolve core agritech pain points, and to build a highly satisfied client base across a number of horticultural crops, inspired the latest funding move.
Hassium Capital’s managing director, Howard Saffy also added that FarmTrace was a solution that had been tried and tested across Africa. In his view, many agtech start-ups were created without farmers in mind, while FarmTrace knew pain points and understood the needs of farmers.
“The team has done an amazing job in building a highly satisfied client base across a variety of horticulture crops,” Howard Saffy said. “They have worked hand-in-hand with farmers to develop solutions to meet their exact needs. We are excited to be able to support them on the journey and look forward to being part of the growth here in South Africa and beyond.”
The investment will permit FarmTrace to expand product offerings, help more farms and increase reach in more geographies. Ultimately, this should unlock growth in Africa’s agribusiness sector, reducing food wastage and optimising farm operations, with the wider potential for the creation of local jobs, the company said.
With many African sites operated by uneducated smallholder farmers with sub-optimal practices, tech-powered management solutions are needed to enhance farming operations in Africa.
Africa’s food market continues to grapple with rising food prices, supply disruptions, high farm input costs and currency fluctuations, among other issues. Despite being projected to achieve a valuation of $1tn by the end of this decade, most of the continent’s farms are operated by smallholders with little or no education, and often produce high levels of food waste. In this context, solutions such as FarmTrace’s could play an important role in transforming African farming.