Ghana agri-tech startup Landmapp expects bumper harvest
Ghanaian startup Landmapp, which specialises in delivering affordable land rights documentation for smallholder farmers, is expecting to triple its revenues once the harvest season begins in October.
Landmapp was founded in January 2015 but launched operations in March of this year. It offers three distinct products: FarmSeal for farm parcels, HomeSeal for residential parcels and CropSeal for sharecropping and tenancy arrangements, all focused on rural communities.
“Land documentation for rural communities is currently both expensive and scarcely available; also it is lacking full service – which means getting the documents signed by the authorities,” Landmapp co-founder and director Thomas Vaassen told Disrupt Africa.
The startup offers farmers products that are fully compliant with Ghanaian regulations and customary traditions, grant a high level of legal security, and can be used as collateral for accessing agricultural loans.
Landmapp has already sold over 1,000 of these documents to smallholder farmers, with Vaassen saying the company’s documents are around 60 per cent cheaper than existing solutions as it has developed mobile mapping and data collection technology that allows a farm-to-document audit trail.
“In addition to the verified documentation of their land-holdings, Landmapp is simultaneously collecting valuable biographical, agricultural and geographical data to create a rich farmer profile, which can be used as the basis for credit scoring, farming inputs procurement and ICS processes,” he said.
All a farmer needs to do is buy the relevant document and store it.
“He or she might take it to the bank as collateral for a loan, or take it as evidence for parcel size with the cocoa buyer or cocobod extension officer,” Vaassen said. “He or she will use it if ever there’s a case of litigation and other issues regarding protection the land; and will use it when gifting land or preparing inheritance to children after passing away.”
Simple but effective, and as a result the service has seen great uptake. Landmapp is currently making about US$45,000 per month, but with harvest season starting soon expects to triple that. It is also providing B2B services, signing a deal with Kuapa Kokoo, which covers larger numbers of farmers.
As a result, investment has been flooding in. Landmapp was initially self-funded and backed by grant money, but had an oversubscribed angel round earlier this year when it raised US$283,000. It is currently in discussions over its next round.
Given the high level of uptake in Ghana, even in low season, the startup has identified a number of other target countries in which to launch its product. Landmapp intends to launch in Indonesia early next year, with other countries on the list including Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia.