Fefifo, a Singapore-based co-farming business, has raised $3.1 million in funding

Fefifo, a Singapore-based Agtech company with operations in Malaysia, has raised more than US$3.1 million (RM12.9 million) in seed investment to help smallholder farmers and agricultural graduates quickly launch their own contemporary commercial farming enterprises in Malaysia. Malaysia’s RHL Ventures and Korea’s KB Investment are the most recent venture capital investors, having been named co-investment partners for Malaysia’s Dana Penjana Nasional by Penjana Kapital as part of the economic recovery strategy. Both sides are the primary financiers.

Fefifo is pioneering digitalised, standardised farming in ready-to-farm modern farm spaces known as co-farms, which are akin to farmers’ ‘cloud kitchens.’ Agropreneurs, or smallholder farmers, may easily establish their own commercial farms in co-farms by renting a ready-to-farm greenhouse or open farm space with managed farm services, lodging, and other shared common amenities.

“It comes at a critical moment for the agriculture industry, and it is positioned as a high-priority vital business that contributes substantially to Malaysia’s food security,” says Raja Hamzah, RHL’s Managing Partner.

“Fefifo provides ready-to-farm locations and technology to help you get started in modern farming with assured off-take.” We appreciate its business model because it allows young agri-graduates to manage technology-enabled farms and earn a consistent income,” says Taufiq Iskandar, Penjana Kapital’s Chief Investment Officer. “Fefifo enables smallholder farmers to participate in contemporary commercial farming and become Agropreneurs,” he continued.

“Over the next six months, this new funding will be used to double the scale of Fefifo’s pilot co-farms in Perak, Malaysia, grow the operations, and bring in key strategic hires for our licencing, technology, and data engineering teams, bringing our self-operated co-farms acreage to a total area of 10 acres of modern commercial farming operations,” says Kelveen Soh, Fefifo’s Malaysian cofounder and CEO. “This helps to Malaysia’s food security by creating about 440 metric tonnes of food for the domestic market per agropreneur in five years, which is enough to feed around 1.1 million people at WHO (World Health Organization) recommended minimum fruit and vegetable intake.”

“Agropreneurs use our proprietary platform, DDFN, powered by digital crop models and growing protocols to standardise and automate their seed-to-sale workflows, lifting them from subsistence farming to commercial farming that sells to reliable, profitable contract buyers,” says Chris Fong, Fefifo’s Singaporean co-founder and Chief Strategy and Innovation.

“Smallholder farmers produce 80% of the food that Asia consumes.” In 15 years, 65 percent of the workforce will retire, and traditional farming will no longer be profitable enough to attract the next generation. Smallholder agricultural efficiency and profitability must be improved via modernisation if the world’s population of 8.5 billion people is to be fed by 2030. We are the first to focus on standardising smallholder operations, and we do so by combining digitalisation of commercial farm workflows and democratisation of expensive farm systems and infrastructure with a business model that is familiar to smallholder farmers – rental (also known as “Farm space-as-a-Service fee”) and crop profit sharing.”

According to Fefifo, each agropreneur may earn between RM50,000 and RM70,000 per farm space each year, which is almost double the net income of a fresh graduate in Kuala Lumpur or ten times that of a conventional subsistence farmer.

Rachel Lau, Managing Partner of RHL Ventures, adds, “It’s empowering the younger generation to simply start farming.” “Agriculture graduates have one of the lowest employability rates in the industry, due to poor pay and concerns about beginning their own farms.” Fefifo is the ideal platform, with all of the value-chain support needed for a long-term income,” she continued.

Fefifo has the vision to make co-farming the new world model for sustainable, profitable smallholder farming by 2030, potentially benefiting millions of rural populations that depend on agriculture for a livelihood.All my best wishes to them.

Shishir Gupta, Founder and CEO, StartupLanes

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