Farmer connect lands £6.5M to scale rapidly and connect farmers with consumers

farmer connect Image credits: farmer connect

farmer connect, an agtech scaleup that provides software to help smallholder farmers connect digitally to the agriculture supply chain using AI and blockchain technology, has recently secured $9 million (approx £6.5 million) in a Series A investment.

The round was led by ITOCHU Corporation, a Japanese general trading company. Other investors from Europe, North and South America, and the founding partner of Sucafina, also participated. 

How will the funding be used?

The funding will enable the Geneva-based company to accelerate the development of new products and services in ESG and SDG tracking. 

Further, the startup is also planning to recruit sector-specialist commercial and customer success teams globally in sectors – coffee, cocoa, tea, spices, and fragrances.

The Series A investment follows a significant growth in 2020, which saw a surge in revenue and a rapidly growing roster of clients and industry partnerships, including Cooxupé, the world’s biggest coffee cooperative in Brazil, UCC Coffee, Beyers Koffie, and The J.M. Smucker Company. 

farmer connect Chief Executive Officer Michael Chrisment, commented: “The agriculture supply chain is crying out for a data-led approach, and consumers want to be able to make informed decisions about the products they buy. Traceability has traditionally been highly challenging and fragmented, but technologies like blockchain bring all parties in the supply chain together, simplifying the exchange and tracking of information and payments, and enabling greater trust. This, in turn, empowers smallholder farmers, reduces inefficiencies for global enterprises, and informs people about how their products were produced.”

Swiss company’s UK connect

The UK-based UCC’s Orang Utan coffee is one of farmer connect’s clients. To reiterate, Orang Utan Coffee – a 100% Arabica, single-origin coffee is born from a mission to save the rapidly declining rainforest habitat of the Sumatran orangutan.

Discussing about its UK client to UKTN, Michael Chrisment, CEO says, “UCC has been using the ‘thank my farmer ‘ app from farmer connect for their Orang Utan Coffee since the end of November 2020. With Thanks to the app, retailers, and customers can track the path of their coffee from the farm to the customer, by scanning the QR code on the packets. Coffee lovers can now discover the story behind Orang Utan Coffee, learn more about the ongoing projects to support coffee farmers, and get involved in the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme.”

The company is also planning to expand its network in the UK. “We are on a worldwide mission and many of our clients are international. We hope to see more traced coffees and other products being sold in the UK soon and our Series A will help us to accelerate our business development activities massively,” says Michael. 

Further, Michael confirmed that they have no idea of opening a physical office in the UK as of now. “No, not yet. We’re international and work around the world with clients from Brazil, to Canada and the UK. One of the incredible things about being a supply chain traceability solution is that we don’t have to physically be everywhere that our technology is running.”

Making lives better

Founded by David Behrends in 2019, farmer connect is a supply chain technology provider, driven to empower and grow the entire supply chain. The company is built around three main products – farmer id, connect hub, and thank my farmer app. 

farmer id: It is a solution based on Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI), that allows farmers to connect digitally to the agriculture supply chain to get proof of their income, safely store and manage digital versions of transaction receipts or certifications, all in one place.

connect hub: It brings together data from across the supply chain, storing it safely and allowing controlled access so that key data points can be validated and processed. Since it’s built around blockchain core by IBM, it ensures traceability, safe storage, and validation by all parties involved in data travelling through the supply chain. 

thank my farmer: It is a web-based app that allows consumers to trace the origins and quality of a product. The platform lets consumers learn about the farmer and even financially support the producer that grew the raw goods. 

“The farmer connect software is well-timed with the rapidly increasing demand for solutions that bring traceability and trust to the agriculture supply chain,” said Koji Yamamoto (Mr), General Manager of Sugar, Confectionery Materials, Coffee & Dairy Products Dept, ITOCHU. 

“The industry experts at farmer connect have developed a powerful blockchain collaborative ecosystem that unpacks the traceability of commodities,” commented Nicolas A. Tamari, Chief Executive Officer, Sucafina SA.