Agriculture is a $3 trillion global industry, and the main source of employment in many communities around the world, including Ghana. However, in Ghana, many farmers lack the tools they need to prosper. Innovation in this sector is vital to Ghana’s future growth.
Ghalani is a mobile and web-based farm management system designed to help large-scale farmers organize their workers, monitor the flow and use of money on their farm(s), and keep track of the yields and incomes, all from their mobile device. Tools like Ghalani can transform farming, helping to increase transparency, and enable new ways of doing business that improve productivity and reduce costs.
Ghalani started its journey when Tabitha Nanzala and Amanze Ogbonna signed up to take part in the 2016 KIC AgriTech Challenge.
The AgriTech Challenge is an annual competition that identifies young people who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs and provides them with business and leadership training, mentorship, and a network of support. Individual competitors join together to establish teams. This is when Tabitha and Amanze met and hatched an idea that would eventually become Ghalani.
Teams taking part in the Challenge participate in a series of pitch and elimination events. Here they present their ideas to a panel of expert judges, who review and feedback on the business concepts being put forward. Business training and mentorship is delivered at key stages in the program.
Ghalani worked closely with the KIC and spotted an opportunity through contract farming where agribusinesses link small-scale farmers to lucrative markets by helping them diversify into high-value farm produce.
“The Kosmos Innovation Center AgriTech Challenge opened our eyes to a different perspective of agriculture. We realized that there is increasing demand for quality produce and food safety and this catalyzes the need for contract farming.”
“We are happy our software solution will help agribusinesses efficiently manage a large number of farmers under them to increase productivity and reduce costs by integrating all agricultural value chain processes seamlessly.”
“In Africa, most solutions similar to ours are provided by NGOs and only last for a number of years as per the lifetime of the project. Our base is Africa, beginning with Ghana, where contract farming thrives. We are looking to become a permanent solution to the whole supply chain of agriculture in which contractors in Africa can easily tap into,” said CEO and Co-founder, Tabitha (Tabby) Nanzala.
CEO Tabby Nanzal’s background is in software development. Her role is matching customer needs to the company’s capabilities and resources by creating innovative product plans. Amanze Ogbonna is the CFO and CTO with experience in software and database systems modeling. He is responsible for the technical development of Ghalani, ascertaining that the product meets company vision and the client’s needs while ensuring the best technology practices are defined and implemented by the team.
Where they are today
Since winning the AgriTech Challenge in 2016, the KIC continued to support Ghalani with expert capacity building and skills training, as well as direct funding. It was awarded seed-funding at the end of the competition and then spent 12 months at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) incubator. Here, startups are helped to turn their business concepts into fully-viable businesses and to bring their products to market. Ghalani continues to go from strength to strength and is currently exploring opportunities with the German Development Agency to see how the solution can help the businesses they support. Ghalani is currently enrolled in the Make-IT Accelerator programme facilitated by GIZ, Endeva and CC Hub in Lagos, Nigeria.
Ghalani is in the process of onboarding the largest fruit processing and export company in Ghana – Blue Skies – to use their system to monitor their interaction with the farmers that supply fruit to them.
Another large cereal aggregator who has close to 5,000 farmers under them is also being onboarded.
Ghalani plans to expand beyond its Ghana base to Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia, and South Africa, as well as South America.
“The KIC team has relentlessly worked with us since 2016. They have introduced us to several potential clients, for instance, Blue Skies, and has ensured that such relationships are secured”.
“Our business strategy and model has been fine-tuned over the period, through various meetings and advice sessions held with the KIC team, in addition to the continued access to the KIC advisors who are industry experts, to critically assess our businesses and give quality feedback. This has significantly improved our business processes”.
“KIC has opened doors to various organizations that they have partnered with, for example, PWC, that hold intensive sessions that help build our businesses,” said CEO and Co-founder, Tabitha (Tabby) Nanzala.