A Ugandan Agritech Startup Has Quietly Roped In USD 11 Mn In An ‘Unusual’ Funding Round

By  |  December 17, 2019

Grainpulse (formerly Savannah Commodities Company), the supply-chain platform for farmers in Uganda, has raised USD 11 Mn from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP).

The capital injection will help the startup to strengthen its farmer supply chain, increasing food production and economic growth in the country.

Grainpulse will use the loan to become a one-stop-shop for farmers, providing them with multiple services, such as fertilizer blending.

The company’s fertilizers are optimized to increase the yields of crops grown by Ugandan smallholder farmers. Grainpulse also buys these crops, including coffee, maize, and barley, from local farmers.

In a statement, Hannington Karuhanga, Grainpulse CEO and Founder said, “Our partnership with IFC will help Grainpulse move to the next stage of growth. We chose to work with IFC because it takes a long-term view of our partnership and adds value beyond financing, in areas such as farmer linkages. We are aligned with IFC on our goal of supporting Ugandan farmers.”

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With the funding, Grainpulse will launch an online platform so farmers can easily access information on best practices, and train agro-input dealers and retailers on financial management skills to help them expand and secure access to finance.

Grainpulse processes and exports coffee, sources and mills grain and cereals from local farmers, and blends fertilizer at its blending plant, the first in Uganda.

In September 2018, the company linked up with Savannah and K+S AG, a global potash and salt company headquartered in Germany, forming a joint venture.

Tomasz Telma, IFC’s Senior Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services, said, “Supporting the agribusiness sector is a major focus for IFC in Africa. This investment in Grainpulse will contribute to food security and economic growth in Uganda by helping increase farmers’ fertilizer use and improving their access to markets.”

Grainpulse is targeting between 36,000 farmers to more than 300,000 by June 2023.

Featured Image Courtesy: CCAFS

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