Berlin-based AgTech startup Manuvo is raising $500k in a pre-seed round to empower African farmers

African smallholder farmers have limited access to crop protectants leading to very low harvest yields. This is due to dysfunctional markets and limited access to funds because of high individual income risk profiles.

The net cereal deficit of developing countries, which amounted to 103 million tonnes3 , or 9 percent of consumption in 1997-99, could worsen to 265 million tonnes by 2030, when they will be 14 percent of consumption

Berlin-based startup Mavuno is providing smallholder African farmers with crop protectants, that can fight diseases and significantly increase harvest yields. Since farmers cannot afford upfront payments, Mavuno provides crop protectants through a pre-financed community model: farmers can subscribe to their service by becoming a Mavuno member and registering on their platform together with their farm geo data.

Manuvo is aming to raise a $500k in a pre-seed round at a minimum valuation of $2.5m and is planning to utilize this funding to grow in size and expand to further african countries and crop types.

The company is charging a yearly membership fee of $150 to $300 (depending on the farm size) for an additional harvest yield of av. $300 and take an advance payment of 20%. Farmers sign up in groups of 10 and are mutually liable for payment of membership fees, which significantly decreases non-payment risk to more than 10%.

Mavuno’s membership fee is collected at the end of every year, when the farmers obtain their income from harvest yields and is ensured through partnerships with local farmer’s associations, who also sign every contract. I

Utilizing high quality imagery data from the Sentinel-2 satellites by the European Union’s Earth Observation Program Copernicus and machine learning models trained with local ground data labels, the platform can therefore predict harvest yield and crop protectant demand and consequently manage income risks.

Additionally, disease, weed, water and nutrition status of crops in the growing season can be tracked and therefore help farmers treat crop more efficiently. By displaying this data intuitively as heat maps on top of the farmer’s fields within a free mobile application.

Technology has become a key player in modern agriculture and we believe precision agriculture could greatly benefit the African continent, as farming is key for most African economies.

Between 2010 and 2030, the total worth of Africa’s food industry is projected to hit the $1 trillion mark. Yet, Africa’s full agricultural potential remains untapped. A recent analysis determined that Africa could produce two to three times more cereals and grains, which would add 20 percent more cereals and grains to the current worldwide 2.6 billion tons of output.

Manuvo’s plan for 2022-2023 is to growt, as they aim to subscribe 10,000 Tanzanian cashew farmers to their membership service worth $1.5m in membership fees. While subscribing new farmers by the end 2022 and aiming to grow their funnel to 500 new subscriptions per week by 2023.