Today, we started the construction of the second greenhouse in Mogadishu. The greenhouse farm which will be located along the Jazeera road will be 2460m2 in size. We will mainly produce tomatoes here as the demand for it is high in the city. The construction is expected to take about 2-3 weeks to be completed. After the construction, the seeds will be planted for nursing and then planted in the farm. For this greenhouse, we are hiring an experienced agronomist to optimize production. After the completion of this farm, the engineering team will travel to Galkacyo to build the next farm, which will become the biggest farm we have built so far.
When we started Agrikaab (Ari.farm) we started with one goat farm in Mogadishu. Things started well but after a few months, we faced the first problems. In 2017, we decided to move the operation to central Somalia and change focus from breeding to trading. This too became problematic due to market issues and other logistical problems. We faced all sorts of problems such as diseases, security, and a shortage of food. In one instance, someone who took hundreds of animals from us never paid us a single dollar back. On top of that, political problems between Somalia and export markets made the market difficult. At the end of 2018, we finally decided to close the goats and sheep farm and move on to focus on other farms such as camels and greenhouses. This was and still is a risky project but we informed users who invested in the goats and sheep that we will take the responsibility for the losses and that we will pay them but unfortunately even that became difficult as we have not been able to get external investment or enough cash flow in the company. We have never used funds from one farm to invest in another. We have failed on the goats and sheep project! But we have not failed on our mission or as a company. I always believe there to be different ways to accomplish a mission. We have successfully changed focus during a difficult period. We have always been transparent and honest about the challenges and opportunities. We have separated the finances of each project from the other. That is why any issues related to goats or sheep farm will not affect other farms. Today, we have found a clear direction and way to scale with the current projects. Anyone who starts a business knows the complications and unexpected situations that can arise. And running a business in places like Somalia is in a more complicated situation. Mohamed Jimale, Founder
The #1 challenge we face as an agriculture company is Water. Today, we have built our farms close to existing wells that sell water to us. There are currently three main problems we face that are related to water: 1. The cost of water is too high. 2. If something goes wrong with the wells our farms are at risk 3. There is plenty of land in Somalia we could build farms but there is no water supply. And yet our water problems are small compared to the risk that nomadic livestock farmers and traditional farmers face. 1. In 2016, when a severe drought hit Somalia, many nomads and farms lost their livelihoods and some of their lives due to lack of water. 2. The price of water skyrockets during dry seasons making it unaffordable for these people to buy water. Without addressing the issue of water, our projects will always be at risk and possibly not reach the scale that we want to reach. So we need to find a solution. But the solution needs to be affordable and easy to maintain. We have considered drilling wells and even desalination but those are too expensive options and require expertise. Therefore, we are starting with rain harvesting with farm ponds. Rain harvesting with farm ponds is an old technique. It is effective and easy to build and maintain but it is not affordable to most people in Somalia. The farm ponds we are building will serve two purposes: 1. We will use the water to irrigate our greenhouse farms and for the camel farms. In combination with water from the wells, this will reduce the price of water and the risk if a well breaks down. 2. They will also serve as an emergency water reservoir during dry seasons. Others will be able to buy water at lower prices if there is extra water in the ponds. This can save the lives of people and animals during droughts. Our plan is to build the first farm ponds next to our upcoming greenhouse farm in Galkacyo. The roof area from the greenhouses will be used to catch the rainwater and drain to the ponds. Somalia has two rainy seasons in spring and autumn but the amount of rainfall is small. However, we believe we can capture as much water as possible whenever it rains. How can you participate? Just like the greenhouses, we will crowdfund the cost of building the farm ponds from the users and they will get a share of any revenues that are generated from the water. Even when we use the water for our farms we will pay the cost of water to the investors of the ponds. We are starting with two farm ponds in central Somalia which will be 10.000 cubic meters with a capacity for 10 million liters. Our plan is to build these two ponds in the summer. Depending on the rainfall and how much water is stored in the ponds, we will pay dividends from the water to the investors every 6 months. You can read more about this project if you log in to the app. You can also see rainfall and current weather information for the particular region where we are building the ponds. I hope you will join us and help make water one less problem for us and others while getting the possibly of a good return on your investment. Jimale
For the current and future camel owners, we are offering a buyback guarantee of their camels after the end of the period when they can get a share of the milk sales. Today, when you buy a camel you have 12 months period when you can get a share of the revenues from the milk sales. After 12 months, the camel is no longer providing milk. You have the choice of keeping your share of the camel or selling her for the current market price. From now on, you will get the same amount that you paid to buy the camel after you decide to sell. For us, we will sell the camel and the accompanying calf at a suitable time in the market. We will be able to get roughly the same price we paid for them. This will remove the risk of making a loss from the sale of the camel for the owner. Since the main value from the camels is the milk sales, you will be getting 8% of the camel's purchase value from the milk sales per quarter without worrying about changes in the camel market prices.
We have decided to close our camel farm in Nairobi effective from March 1, due to a couple of issues that we could not resolve. 1. We had difficulty in finding a trustworthy and competent team. Unlike Somalia, Kenya does not have a camel culture which made it difficult to find good camel herders. The people we hired unfortunately started stealing the milk and mistreated the animals. 2. Getting a reliable food supply for the animals was a logistical nightmare. Our first priority is for the well-being of the animals. In this farm, we tried our best to provide for the animals but in the end, we realized if the number of animals in the farm increased we wouldn't be able to find enough food in the area. Although there is a market for camel milk in Nairobi, given the above challenges we could not continue this farm. For the users who have bought animals from this farm, we will offer them animals from our camel farms in Mogadishu. We are soon opening the second camel farm in the city.
1. We have started the year with a major rebranding of Ari.farm to Agrikaab. As we have communicated in the last post, this became necessary due to our expansion into food. We have officially registered the new name in Somalia and are in the process in Kenya. 2. We have started the first harvest from the pilot greenhouse in Bandar Qaali, Central Somalia. The production is still low but we expect an increase in the coming weeks. The residents from the village and surrounding areas have been buying tomatoes and pepper from the farm on a daily basis. Full harvest report will be published for the investors of the farm by early March. 3. The progress from our new greenhouse in Mogadishu is looking good. All the plants have been transplanted and are now growing as expected. We are growing tomatoes, pepper and spinaches in this greenhouse. The first harvest is expected to start in March. 4. The two new greenhouses we have announced in December have now sold out. The construction of the farms will start at the end of February when we expect to get construction materials from China. 5. We are soon announcing two more greenhouses that will be built in Somalia. We are in talks with landowners who wish to partner with us to benefit from their land and help us produce more food for the community. 6. We have had a challenge to source camels in Kenya for the last few months. Due to the long distance from Nairobi where the animals have to be purchased and climate issues. That was it for January.
The word "Ari" means livestock and specifically goats and sheep in Somali. When we started the platform, we had a narrow focus on these animals, but as time went we have expanded beyond just goats. Goats were never our mission but a means to reach our mission which was to create employment for former nomads in Somalia and contribute to the local economy. As we have expanded to broader agriculture and moved on from trading goats to focusing on local agrifood production, it is become necessary to update the name to something that reflects on our progress. Therefore, from 2019 we have decided to rebrand Ari.farm to Agrikaab. It is a play of the two words, Agri and Kaabe (which is a Somali word that means someone who supports or builds). As we did from the start, we want to support and build Somalia's agriculture and with our increased focus on food, we want to help the country become self-sufficient from local food production. We are introducing new ways of farming to the locals and specifically to nomads, who get jobs and inspiration from our modern farms. Here our missions continues, we will employ mostly former nomads to work at our new greenhouse farms and camel farms that produce milk. Has anything changed on how the platform works? No, it is still possible to invest in our farms and animals. If you have made investments on Ari.farm and had an account on the apps, everything should be working as usual. Nothing changes except the name. Even Ari.farm mobile apps will continue to work for some time until we migrate everyone to Agrikaab's new apps.
2018 was a busy year for us. We started our transition from livestock trading to focus on local agrifood production. These were the main events during the year. 1. We opened two camel farms in Somalia and Kenya. The farms are used for organic camel milk production that is sold in the local markets. 10 people mostly former nomads have found work at these farms. 2. We launched the first of its kind online camel milk delivery service in Somalia. Customers order milk from a website and Facebook page and get delivered to their homes directly from our farm. 3. During the summer, we started our expansion into food. We launched the first pilot greenhouse in central Somalia in September. We used this greenhouse to train our team. Since then we have built the second greenhouse in Mogadishu and have started the preparation for two more greenhouses after the new year (one of which will become the biggest in Somalia). All of the greenhouses will produce basic vegetables such as tomatoes, spinaches etc, that will be sold locally. Somalia faces a shortage of vegetables, that it imports basic vegetables from neighboring countries. Our mission is to change this while creating jobs for former nomads who are becoming farmers through employment at our farms. 4. We have decided to completely close our goats and sheep trading business. There have been several reasons that led to this decision but mainly due to conditions in the livestock market and concerns of animal welfare during export. 5. We have improved the app and website to give more transparency and information to the investors. 6. We have successfully moved the base of the company from Sweden to Kenya. 7. We have now created jobs for 20 people in Somalia and Kenya in 5 farms. All in all, 2018 was a good year and 2019 will be even more exciting as we scale our operations. God willing. We are also in the process of rebranding the company as the business has evolved beyond livestock trading which was the original meaning of the word "Ari". More on that in the next days. I wish everyone a happy new year and a prosperous 2019. Mohamed M Jimale, Founder & CEO
Here is the latest monthly update from the team. 1. We have completed the construction of the second greenhouse, located just 10 km from Mogadishu city center. The greenhouse will produce tomatoes and spinaches for the city. Three people will start working at this farm and eventually, we will increase the number to six when the first harvest is made. The produce will create more jobs and meet the demand for fresh vegetables from the city. 2. Our first pilot greenhouse in central is Somalia is growing well. About 70% of the plants are growing as expected. We hope to make the first harvest before the end of the year and sell in the city of Galkacyo. As this was a pilot greenhouse, our team have been learning a lot about farming as they are transitioning from nomadic livestock herders to smart farmers. 3. Unfortunately, after several months of evaluation, we have decided to close the goats and sheep farm in Mudug due to several problems caused by politics in the livestock trading business and other market problems. All the current and former owners of goats and sheep have been informed by e-mail. The farm will close by December 31. We are no longer taking orders for goats and sheep and will stop monitoring the market prices for these animals at the end of the year. 4. We have added more animals to our camel farm in Nairobi. Although, it is been difficult to source animals in Kenya we are gathering contacts and hope to buy more animals after the new year. 5. Three more greenhouse farms are planned to be constructed after the new year. We plan to build these farms in Somaliland, Central Somalia, and Mogadishu. More details will be announced in the next weeks. That is all from the team. Happy new year in advance.
It is been one year since we opened our first camel farm in Somalia. We are happy to inform that the camel farm in Somalia has been profitable. After evaluation of the last 12 months, we have decided to make a few changes to the camel milk revenue sharing with the investors. We are making the following updates. These changes will apply from January 1 for camels bought before today. 1. Our assessment before the opening of our first farm indicated that we will be able to get milk from lactating camels for up to 18 months, however, the results from the past year show that 12 months to be the average period. We are shortening the lactation period when users get dividends from milk sales from 18 months to 12 months. That means users will get milk revenues for 4 quarters instead of 6. 2. However, we are increasing the quarterly camel milk dividends from 5% to 8%. If you have got a dividend from past quarters, we will pay the difference in the next quarter. 2. We are shortening the requirement to own 50% of a camel to be eligible for milk revenues to 30% of camel shares. Any user who owns from 30% of a camel will get a share of the revenues from milk sales. 4. We are introducing an option to breed the camels after 12 months, provided the owner pays the maintenance costs during the pregnancy. Users who wish to breed their camels after 12 months of ownership will need to pay a maintenance cost of $60 per month for 13 months. The user must own 100% of the camel. We will add more details about this in the next month.
We are delighted to announce the planning and construction of three new farms in the next few months. After a review of the pilot greenhouse farm we built recently and other greenhouse projects in Somalia, We have found good results and decided to start new projects. We will be starting the construction of our second greenhouse farm outside Mogadishu. This farm is located inside Mogadishu city and will be about 1400m2. We will be growing tomatoes here. We expect the farm to be ready by the end of November. We are also announcing the first camel farm in central Somalia. We are going to open this farm outside Galkacyo city and will have a capacity for 50 camels. Galkacyo is one of the cities in Somalia where camel milk is most popular. The farm will meet the demand for organic milk for the residents and businesses in this city. Also in Galkacyo, we are planning to build the biggest greenhouse farm in Somalia. We plan to start the construction of this farm by the start of the new year. It will consist of 50 greenhouse units with a total size of 9,800m2 and possibility to extend to 200 greenhouse units with a total size of 40,000m2. We hope this farm to meet the vegetable needs of Galkacyo city and other towns in this region. Users in the waiting list will get priority to invest in these greenhouses. You will receive an e-mail from us in the next days/weeks. If you have not joined the waiting list, sign up today. Ari.farm Team
Here is the latest monthly update for September: 1. In September we have started and completed the construction of the pilot greenhouse in central Somalia. We flew materials and an engineer from Nairobi to the site to build the farm and train our team. Due to the extreme wind in the area, we decided to reduce the size of the greenhouse to 644 sqm. The farm has been designed with a drip irrigation system to conserve water. 2. After the completion of the construction and planting of vegetables, we opened investment for users. Over 250 people have joined the waiting list to invest. When the orders opened, the greenhouse sold out very quickly. Users who are in the waiting list but did not get a chance to invest at this time will get priority for the next project, which we hope to start before the end of the year. 3. We have now distributed the first camel milk dividends from the last quarter to users who have owned camels in this period. 4. In September, we participated at Stockholm Tech Fest where we won an award for the second year in a row. We received a new award called Alma New Award for the innovative project. We were also present at Gather Festival and Me Convention in Stockholm.
We have now completed the construction of the pilot greenhouse farm at Bandar Qaali, Mudug and planting of tomatoes. It took our team just 10 days to build the first greenhouse of 644 square meters. The greenhouse farm has been designed with a drip irrigation system and will get water from the nearby village well, which is powered by solar panels. If you joined the waiting list to invest in this farm, we are now sending e-mails to users who are first in the queue. If you do not receive an e-mail from us, it means this greenhouse has sold out. However, you will keep your position on the waiting list for the next project. We are going to test the production of this greenhouse in the next three to four months. Depending on the outcome, we will build more greenhouses across the region.
It is underway! We have finally started the construction of the pilot greenhouse farm in Somalia. The farm will consist of four small greenhouses of 23x7sqm each. We initially planned to build a farm of over 1000sqm but after a survey of the area, we decided to reduce the size of the farm to 644m2. We expect the construction and the planting to be completed by next week. As we have announced before, we will grow tomatoes here. We estimate the first harvest to be made before the end of the year. Based on the results from this pilot farm, we will make a decision on whether and where to build more greenhouses. Orders are now open to purchase a piece of this greenhouse farm. If you joined the waiting list, you will get an e-mail from us giving instructions on how to make your purchase. It is likely this greenhouse farm will sell out very quickly and all users on the waiting list may not get a chance to participate now. In that case, we will keep your position on the waiting list for the next greenhouses.
The month of August has been a busy one. Here are the biggest events of the last month. 1. We officially opened the first camel farm in Kenya. The new camel farm which is located about 30 minutes from Nairobi has a capacity for up to 40 camels. The first animals have moved this week, together with two camel herders who will take care of the animals. The camels will be occasionally taken out for grazing in the nearby fields but have plenty of food and water at the farm. 2. We had a short delay for the start of the construction of the pilot greenhouse. All the materials have been shipped to the site and the construction team will travel the coming days. We expect the construction to start by the end of next week and will take about 3 weeks to complete. Over 240 users have now joined the waiting list to participate in this farm. 3. The app and the website have been redesigned to improve the navigation and access to information. We have listened to feedback from the community and are continuously improving the app user experience. Now you can easily see which farms you have invested in as well as plenty of information about the farms and the overall operation. 4. In August, we were one of the winners of Shanghai Global Talents & Innovation Conference pitching competition organised by Techcode in Berlin. 5. In August there has been a major blow to livestock traders in Somalia after Saudi Arabia which takes 65% of Somalia's livestock exports returned a ship carrying 27.000 goats and sheep citing disease although other reports say this is political play to pressure the government of Somalia. This issue could have major effect on livestock trading in Somalia, specially goats and sheep including the operation of our farm in Mudug, Somalia. The extent of this problem will become more clear in the coming months. 6. Due to ethnic conflict in Eastern Ethiopia, the price of basic vegetables such as tomatoes has increased by over 150% in Northern/Central Somalia. Most of nothern regions of Somalia import basic vegetables from Ethiopia. Through our upcoming greenhouse farms we hope to help these regions produce their own food. That is all for August. We are looking forward to a productive September. Jimale
We are delighted to announce the opening of our first camel farm in Kenya. The first five camels have now moved in the farm outside Nairobi. The animals will have food, water and medicine at the farm. They will also occationally go out for grazing to the nearby grasslands . The farm will provide fresh camel milk to Nairobi city. We have already customers who are waiting to receive the first supply of milk from the farm. Four peole will be employed by this operation. Two camel herders who will be responsible for taking care of the animals, one broker who is buying camels for us from Eastern Kenya and one employee who will be responsible for the sales of the milk and logistics. Just like the other camel farm in Somalia, anyone from anywhere can invest in these animals and get a share of the revenues from the milk sales. If you will like to become one of the first camel owners in Kenya go to the SHOP and make your purchase today.
You could always send specific animals as a gift to friends and family from our app and now you can send a gift voucher to your loved ones which they can use on our platform to buy whatever they like. The process is very simple. 1. Provide their name, e-mail and a personal note. 2. Make the purchase and our system will e-mail them your note and the gift voucher with a unique code. 3. They can use the code to pay for their order on Ari.farm. If you will like to try, check gift certificates under Info section.
We have done a major design update to the website and the app, following feedback from the community. We have improved the user experience and navigation. It will be easier from now on to find information and make purchases. We have added more information about the farms. We are still updating some elements so please explore and if you find anything that is broken or other errors please let's know. Jimale
Dear Community, Since June there has been several updates. 1. We are soon opening the first camel farm in Kenya. We have leased a land outside Nairobi and are now waiting the first animals to arrive in the next couple weeks. The farm will provide fresh camel milk to the residents of Nairobi city. The farm will also create several jobs for people who will take care of the animals. The investment model will be similar to the farm in Mogadishu, Somalia. We plan to build more camel farms as they have been most profitable. 2. The response for the upcoming greenhouse farms have been amazing. So far more than 200 people have joined the waiting list for the pilot greenhouse farm that we are building in central Somalia. I am happy to announce that we have now everything ready to start the construction. We have found an experienced engineer who will travel from Kenya to train our Somalia team and build the pilot greenhouse. The land, water and people who will work at the greenhouse are all ready. We are starting the construction in three weeks. 3. We have now published more information about how the greenhouse investment will work. You can read more in the app or here. In the next few days we will open orders for the first users on the waiting list. We will use the money raised to cover the construction cost of the greenhouses. We expect the greenhouses will be ready and planted by the begining of September. 4. The operational cost for the goats and sheep farm in Mudug has been too high in recent months, therefore we have decided not to add new animals for now as we evaluate ways to reduce costs. 5. The app has also been updated. You can now see the farms where you have invested in and you can also browse more information about every farm. More updates will be coming the next few weeks.
Dear community, Since the launch of Ari.farm we have been getting requests from users who will like to invest in other agricultural products. Today, I am delighted to announce that we are soon expanding to food. This will increase our impact and diversify our offering. We are building greenhouse farms to produce organic food in Somalia. We already built a small greenhouse at our camel farm outside Mogadishu to train our team on how to build greenhouses with drip irrigation. The greenhouses will produce vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, etc. We are setting up the first pilot greenhouse near our goats/sheep farm in Bandar Qaali, Mudug in August 2018. There is already available water and land there. Another reason why we want to start here is because there is a shortage of vegetables in this region. We want to provide locally produced quality vegetables at affordable prices. This will improve the food security of this region and create jobs. Depending on the outcome from the pilot greenhouses we will expand to other regions in the north and south Somalia and possibly Kenya. We also want to take advantage in smart farming solutions and test new farming technologies at the farms. As always we want to include our global community to participate in this venture. Just like the animals users will be able to invest in the greenhouse farms. We are still working on the investment model, specifics will be announced later. If you want to be one of the first people to get the opportunity to participate, you can register your interest in the waiting list here. Jimale
It has been very joyful to show friends and colleagues pictures of my animals in Somalia. They are a great icebreaker in business meetings as well.
Isak Bakken, Sweden
This is very interesting. To be able to own animals in Africa, support economic development and take a social responsibility.
Kenth Juthberg, Sweden
In a simple and playful, way we have now bought animals in Somalia. Through our investment we contribute to create jobs for people who don't have opportunities today.
A charity that makes a real difference and maybe a good investment.
Richard Cander, Sweden