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Seeds of Change: Supporting Farmers and Connecting Communities with FarmicleGrow

Founder Lydia Konlan reflects on her entrepreneurial journey.

Student Founder Feature

It was a simple question from a rural farmer in Ghana that planted the seed of a new business in Lydia Konlan’s mind: “How do I find markets for my products?” This inquiry spurred Lydia, a Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) student, to create FarmicleGrow, a digital marketplace and production management platform designed to connect farmers with buyers locally and globally. 

Lydia grew up in a rural farming community in Ghana and pursued her first master’s degree in agribusiness studies in Germany. She returned home with a mission to support her community. While working with a non-governmental organization aiding rural farmers, she met one who highlighted a significant gap: while there was plenty of support to improve yields, there was little help in finding produce markets. 

“These are small-scale farmers, working on five to six acres of land, the equivalent of 4-5 football fields” Lydia explains. “They either travel to community markets or sell to intermediary businesses that visit their farms. Understanding what crops to grow and when to sell was primarily based on experience.” 

FarmicleGrow was born out of the realization that market demand and expanding customer bases were critical issues farmers faced. “Understanding market demands is vital for increasing profitability and enhancing farmers’ business value, which helps build strong, connected communities.” Lydia says. 

One of her inspirations was witnessing farmers’ struggles to find buyers and the food waste that led to. 

“Buyers and manufacturers are both frustrated about varying food quality and are looking for means to trace the origin of farm produce,” Lydia says. Our business-to-business marketplace for agricultural products makes sourcing easy and efficient for buyers, eliminating unreliable suppliers, long wait times and inconsistent quality” says Lydia. 

Lydia Konlan, founder FarmicleGrow

FarmicleGrow’s long-term vision is to become a leader in Ghana’s digital farm produce space, seamlessly connecting farmers to a wider market through a mobile app. 

With over five years of experience working with farming communities in Ghana, Lydia has connected with 2,000 small-scale farmers to understand their problems better. She also interviewed potential business clients to identify their frustrations and how they currently address them. Market research and pilot tests with two businesses helped refine FarmicleGrow’s features. 

Supporting farmers with demand data allows them to decide what to grow, when to grow, how to grow and for whom to grow which, as a result, provides businesses confidence about the origin of the produce. 

Recognizing the strength of her idea, Lydia wanted to grow her entrepreneurial skills to better ensure the business’s success. That’s when she turned to the MBET program and Velocity, which is where she refined the company’s roadmap and accessed crucial resources and networks. .  

Lydia advises aspiring founders to rigorously validate market needs before diving into development. “Talk to as many customers as possible. Surround yourself with talented and passionate people. Be adaptable and comfortable making decisions with incomplete information.” 

Through it all Lydia’s greatest inspiration remains her mother, who managed petty business trading to support her education. “She inspires me to keep moving forward every day.” For aspiring entrepreneurs, Lydia recommends networking and seeking advice from experienced founders. 

FarmicleGrow is on a mission to transform agriculture in Africa, supporting farmers and connecting communities, ensuring a brighter future for all involved. 

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