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Easy and affordable access to farm land in Africa that also offers "smart farming as a service" to small holder farmers

To reduce food insecurity and economic output in Africa using one of Africa's most vital asset - 'arable land'

Photo of Uche Ariolu
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Agrovative Limited

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Our selected place is Rivers State, the most populated state in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. It has a total area of 11,000 sq km

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Rivers state is my state of residence and state of origin. I have lived in this place the most in my life and have extensive knowledge of this area. I understand the challenges in this area and the needs of people in this area. 

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

This area has over 20 ethnic groups such as the ijaw, ikwerre, ogonis, ogba, kalabari etc.It has a total population of about 7.5 million people  with about 3.1 million people resident in urban areas of the state It  is  about the largest oil producing state in Nigeria, with lots of oil and gas producing facilities . Despite the high presence of oil and gas activities ggriculture is the highest employer of labour in the state. It has over 700,000 sq  km of arable land. This state is made up of the riverine area, mostly creeks, rivers, mangrove swamp forest etc. And the upland which is predominantly rain forest and has some of the most fertile soil in the Niger Delta. It rains heavily in the state and the sun shines all through the year. 

Due to the typography and climate of the state, most people are farmers and fishermen

The soil here can support and grow lots of food and cash crops such as palm oil, rubber, vegetables, coconut, cocoyam, cassava, cashew nuts, okro, yam, sweet potayoes, avocado, mangoes, maize, water leaf, fluted pumpkin. Also due to the creeks and rivets traversing the state, the eating habit is influenced by seafood 

Their meals are mostly derived from roots, vegetables, sea food and meat. The stare has a very rich culinary culture filled with lots of seafood based cuisine such as Rivers native soup, fisher man soup, onunu etc. These food are mostly seafood, root and vegetable based. 

The major city is Portharcourt which is the second economic city in Nigeria, a major oil and gas producing hub in West Africa and the state capital. It's one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Nigeria with a high number of expatriate. 

Despite the high presence of oil and gas operations and the state been the highest contributor of foreign exchange to the country.Poverty and unemployment is very high. As a result the people hope for a better life 

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

At the moment the areas faces the problem of scarcity of affordable and easy access to  farm land for young people within the states  and low productivity of farms in the area. These makes the area to be food insecure and expensive despite having over 700,000 hectres of uncultivated arable land. However over 80% of land in rural areas are owned by the aged, poor and communities most of whom are too poor to engage in modern farming practice. In urban and semi urban areas 50% of undeveloped land is left fallow and not yielding any income for the owners. Farm land constitute over 60% of the cost of farms. Due to inefficient and archaic land tenure system, cultural issues and cost. Farm Land is not easily available for farmers and prospective farmers especially young farmers in the state . In some communities it is forbidden and difficult for a non-native to acquire farm land through sales. The available ones are costly thereby discouraging first time farmers and existing farmers who want to expand their farms. This land tenure system makes its hard for commercial farming  and productive farming to thrive and assist in land degradation. Those who control the land cannot finance modern and productive farming method. As a result, yield per Hectare is very low. This reinforces food insecurity.

With the current system of food production, low farm productivity and absence of modern farming practices.With the state's population estimated to grow to 21 million people, Food insecurity  and degradation of land is imminent by year 2050. 

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

We want to reduce food insecurity and boost economic output in Africa and the world at large by using one of the continent's most vital asset - arable land.

One of the core means of achieving this is by unlocking and making available for farming, the over 600 million hectares of arable land in Africa. While also boosting farm productivity through affordable and accessible deployment of smart/precision farming solutions for millions of small and medium holder farmers across Africa.

To do this, we have developed Farmeli. Farmeli is a mobile web platform that enables Landowners in rural,semi-urban and urban areas across within the state  to earn income from their unused and undeveloped land by leasing it to farmers. It matches those land to farmers based on criteria such as soil quality, usage, suitability, term, etc. Then to add value to the farms on the platform, we will offer them affordable and accessible smart/precision farming technologies on SaaS or pay as you use basis. So their farms can produce more yield per hectre. Also, Farmeli ensures that each land in its platform is managed sustainably in a way that does not affect the environment. 

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

By doing this our solution solves the problem of food insecurity, and climate change challenges associated with the existing food system. Our solution can boost food productivity by 50 to 100% on farms on our platform. 

So imagine smallholder farmer been able to expand their farm plots easily by leasing from those who have unused land giving them access to smart/ precision farming technologies which can remove the guesswork from farming and help them to know what to plant, when to plant it, if to apply fertilizer or not, soil fertility, weather condition, expected yield per hectare, expected return on investment, etc. All without breaking the bank or without having any technical skill. 

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

So we envision a future where anyone can access land for farming by leasing from thode who have unused and undeveloped land. Then access smart/precision farming technologies at very low cost or on pay as you go or SaaS basis. A future where our solution and technology assists in increasing the yield per Hectare by 100%.This will result in less land been used to produce food but increased yield. We envision a future where farmers using our solution will have access to data and information to remove the guess work from farming , all of this made available to them through there mobile phones and Ussd. We envision a future where thousands of unemployed  youths will find farming attractive. 

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website
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Join the conversation:

Photo of Mildred Mayondi

Hi there
The population has been estimated to increase by 2050 which means land is one of the resources that is likely to be in shortage if not properly managed. Great work you are doing

Photo of Uche Ariolu

Thanks a lot for you comment