Global salt and fertilizer provider K+S and leading pan-African fintech company MFS Africa have partnered in a joint venture to invest in Akorion, an agricultural innovation company that uses technology to provide services and products to farmers and agriculture-related entities in Uganda, primarily through its flagship on-demand platform EzyAgric.
Akorion is an agritech company based in Kampala, Uganda, that serves smallholder farmers by digitizing agricultural value chains. Its mission is to enable all commercial farmers and other agribusinesses across Africa to access high-quality production and marketing services through its flagship platform EzyAgric.
“With this agreement we have reached another milestone on our way to build a new approach together with our partners to become the leading agricultural platform in sub-Saharan Africa, increasing crop yields and improving income levels of many smallholders,” said Dr. Burkhard Lohr, Chief Executive Officer of K+S. “We are looking forward to strengthen our business with the right partners in this emerging agricultural region.”
Leveraging its digital payments interoperability hub, South Africa located MFS Africa plans to take the EzyAgric technology to pan-African scale. “There’s so much opportunity to empower smallholder farmers, strengthen local ecosystems, and drive economic growth through agritech,” said Dare Okoudjou, founder and CEO of MFS Africa. “The problems that the Akorion team have cracked for the Ugandan market are present all over Africa, and we’re excited to support them in scaling the solution across the continent. This investment forms part of our broader strategy to invest in and scale African companies that have the potential to reshape the continent’s economic landscape through technology.
K+S and MFS Africa are equal partners in the newly formed joint venture, which invested in Akorion. The parties agreed not to disclose any further financial details.
“Human, social, and financial capital access are among the major obstacles in scaling innovations such as EzyAgric in the African ecosystem. Having experienced strategic partners in the agribusiness and technology industries such as K+S and MFS Africa is a key milestone for us on the journey of putting EzyAgric in the hands of millions of farmers across Uganda, the African continent, and the whole world,” said William Luyinda, Co-founder and CEO of Akorion Company LTD.
The Ugandan-developed, end-to-end agriculture application EzyAgric connects farmers with suppliers, off-takers, and traders through its network of youth agents. These “village agents” are equipped with smartphones and other forms of agricultural technology to help farmers improve yields and household income by accessing genuine agro-inputs, infographic smart extension/advisory services, consistent market information, and affordable financial services through a single interface. The app also allows farmers to geo-map their farms, providing accurate information on plot size, location, and boundary placement. Currently, the company has served over 70,000 farmers and digitally profiled over 42,000 farmers through a network of 600 village agents and 100 farmer associations.
Smallholder farmers, most of whom have access to less than two acres of land, produce more than 80% of the food in sub-Saharan Africa. There has been progress in improving smallholders’ access to digitised services. According to the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, CTA, an estimated 33 million people – about 13% of all sub-Saharan African smallholders and pastoralists – are already registered for services such as weather updates and market linkages. EzyAgric aims to take these services further.
About MFS Africa
MFS Africa is the platform for scale on the continent. MFS Africa is Africa’s largest digital payments hub, connecting over 180 million mobile wallets. Through a single API, MFS Africa connects mobile wallet systems, banks, money transfer operators, and merchants to enable real-time, cross-border and cross-network transactions.
Akorion is an agritech company that integrates ICT in the delivery of production and marketing services to farmers, and value chain digitisation to agribusinesses that work with farmers. We aim to efficiently deliver inclusive and data driven access to finance, production and marketing services for farmers and agribusinesses through EzyAgric, our mobile and web application, assisted by a network of community-based service providers, such as farmer groups and associations.
K+S is a customer-focused, independent minerals company for the Agriculture, Industry, Consumers, and Communities segments. Our over 14,000 employees enable farmers to provide nutrition for the world, solutions that keep industries going, improve daily life for consumers and provide safety in winter. We continually meet the growing demand for mineral products from production sites in Europe, North and South America as well as a worldwide sales network. We strive for sustainability because we are deeply committed to our responsibilities to people, environment, communities, and economy in the regions in which we operate. Learn more about K+S at www.k-plus-s.com.