Pakistan’s Farmdar raises $1.3M SEED
Karachi's AgriTech startup Farmdar has raised $1.3M in a SEED funding round led by Indus Valley Capital with participation from Deosai Ventures, Tricap Investments, United Distributors Pakistan Limited, The Community Fund VC, LMKR and K2 Global Ventures. Farmdar uses deep-tech with high-res, multi-band satellite imagery to create actionable data for farmers and corporates. This data has a direct result on the efficiency and profitability of farmers and corporates. The startup was launched in 2021 by Muhammed Bukhari, Muzaffar Manghi and Ibrahim Bokhari.
The Agriculture sector in Pakistan has been picking up since last year with vast lands and immense untapped opportunity offering significant potential for digitization and tech disruption, the Pakistani Agriculture sector is yet another uncharted territory for the VC world to explore. The first quarter of this year saw a dominance of international investment in the region, as seen in our Pakistan Q1 2022 Venture Investment Report. Pakistan has one of the highest international investor proportions across the Top EVM geographies as over 70% of all investors backing Pakistan-based startups in Q1’22 were international investors. Almost all the major rounds recorded by the region this year including the likes of Bazaar, Jugnu, Truck It In, and NayaPay saw increased participation of international investors with big names like Tiger Global (USA), 100 Ventures (KSA), Seedstars (Singapore), and Kingsway Capital (UK) among others with regional investors also showing no hesitancy in supporting local homegrown startups.
The Farmdar journey began when the founders started exporting produce and discovered that Pakistani produce was considered low quality in the UK and UAE markets. The founders vowed to do something about it. "We looked at supply chain improvements first, like cold chain, which allowed us to extend shelf life but our underlying quality was still poor,” added Ibrahim Bokhari. “We then tried remote sensing and precision agriculture technology and it created a step change in quality and yield whilst reducing our input costs".
In light of a rapidly growing global population, the agritech’s vision is to create a food secure world and empower farmers in Pakistan with technology to gain control over their produce and its true value. Inherently, there is a human impact, and to that end many data-points for individual farmers will be free of cost, as is registration on the Farmdar web-app. Corporate farms, food processors, food companies and mills requiring more elaborate data and insight will be engaged with bespoke solutions and subscriptions. “Pakistan is amongst the top 10 producers in the world for essential crops such as sugarcane, wheat and rice, yet in terms of yield we rank 50th or below. It’s a massive yield gap. Farmdar is in a unique position to help increase yield and quality while reducing farming costs and minimizing waste. Pakistan is well placed to be a regional and global agricultural leader. The starting point for agricultural excellence is data and insight that can be actioned upon, accurately and quickly. That’s where Farmdar comes in.” quotes Manghi.
By virtue of yield increase with waste and input reduction, Farmdar’s data also helps reduce the impact of agricultural activity on climate change. Farmdar is also a part of the Greentech Alliance. “Simply using more land to grow more food isn’t the solution, it’s devastating for climate change” commented Muhammed Bukhari. “Farmdar uses artificial intelligence to create data that helps optimize crop productivity by increasing yield, reducing harvest loss and input costs and monitoring diseases. We knew that this data was of immense value, but were surprised to see the widespread appetite for data both on the individual farmer and the corporate side. Accurate data at scale doesn’t really exist in Pakistan”.
Farmdar’s use of technology with remote sensing through satellites makes their growth scalable and aligns with the vision to solve a global problem of agricultural sustainability. The funding will enable Farmdar to scale rapidly across Pakistan, hire and develop tech talent, and also apply use cases from Pakistan in foreign markets such as Thailand, Turkey, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines and across the Middle East.
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