In a major win for Pakistan, a Karachi-based agritech startup called Farmdar raised $1.3 million in seed funding. This is welcoming news as such startups can help revolutionize Pakistan’s agricultural sector.
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 round has been led by Indus Valley Capital with participation by strategic investors from Pakistan, the Middle East, and the US, including Deosai Ventures, Tricap Investments, United Distributors Pakistan Limited, and The Community Fund VC, LMKR, and K2 Global Ventures.
Launched in 2021 by childhood friends Muhammed Bukhari, Muzaffar Manghi, and Ibrahim Bokhari who himself is a third-generation large farmer, 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 a cold chain, which allowed us to extend shelf life but our underlying quality was still poor. We then tried remote sensing and precision agriculture technology and it created a step-change in quality and yield whilst reducing our input costs” said Ibrahim.
“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 on its way to being 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.
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.
Farmdar’s data also helps reduce the impact of agricultural activity on climate change. Along with the virtue of yield increase with waste and input reduction. Farmdar is the only agritech in Pakistan to be a part of the Greentech Alliance.
“Simply using more land to grow more food isn’t the solution, it’s devastating for climate change” quotes Muhammed. “Farmdar uses artificial intelligence to create data. It 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 it was a surprise to see the widespread appetite for data. Eventually both on the individual farmer and the corporate side. Accurate data at scale doesn’t really exist in Pakistan”.
Farmdar uses technology with remote sensing through satellites. As a result, it makes their growth scalable and aligns with vision to solve a global problem of agricultural sustainability. The funding will enable Farmdar to scale rapidly across Pakistan, hire and develop the very best tech talent. But also apply use cases from Pakistan in foreign markets. Such as Thailand, Turkey, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines, and across the Middle East.