The investment will see the Karachi-based startup scale its AI driven reporting across Pakistan - and maybe even beyond.
Pakistani agritech startup, Farmdar, has announced the raise of a seed round worth $1.3 million, led by local VC, Indus Valley Capital, with participation from Deosai Ventures, Tricap Investments, United Distributors Pakistan Limited, The Community Fund VC, LMKR and K2 Global Ventures.
Founded in 2021 by Muhammed Bukhari, Muzaffar Manghi and Ibrahim Bokhari, the Karachi-based outfit offers actionable data to farmers and corporates using deep-tech and high-res multi-band satellite imagery. Through remote sensing and AI, Farmdar aims to help lower costs and reduce waste. Users receive detailed and easy-to-understand reports through Farmdar’s app.
"We looked at supply chain improvements first, like cold chain, which allowed us to extend shelf life but our underlying quality was still poor,” said co-founder 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".
The issues are particularly glaring when you consider that Pakistan is among the top 10 producers of essential crops in the world, but ranks 50th in terms of yield. “Farmdar is in a unique position to help increase yield and quality while reducing farming costs and minimising waste,” Manghi adds. “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.”
The fix isn’t that simple, however, as Bukhari explains. “Simply using more land to grow more food isn’t the solution, it’s devastating for climate change. Farmdar uses artificial intelligence to create data that helps optimise 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.”
Despite the challenges, agriculture presents plenty of opportunities for Pakistan’s tech sector. Almost demanding disruption, Q1’22 saw the sector experience a 142% YoY growth in funding, which came off the back of pre-seed raises for the likes of Jiye Tech (a $2.5 million) and Tazah ($2 million).
With its injection of capital, Farmdar will look to develop its tech team and scale across Pakistan. Most interestingly, however, it will also apply use cases from Pakistan in markets such as Thailand, Turkey, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines and across the Middle East, potentially paving the way for expansion beyond Pakistani borders.