RHL Ventures and KB Investment, the appointed South Korean co-investment partners for Malaysia’s Dana Penjana Nasional (DPN) by Penjana Kapital, have invested US $3.1 million in Fefifo, a Malaysia-based agritech business.
The business has previously received investment from ScaleUp Malaysia, Quest Ventures, and EcoImpact Capital, an impact-focused venture capital firm.
Fefifo bills itself as a “cloud kitchen for farmers,” according to its website. Its goal is to encourage Malaysia’s younger generations to choose agriculture and farming as a career option by offering ready-to-use “co-farms” that are digitalized and standardised.
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.
In a press statement, Fefifo Co-Founder and CEO Kelveen Soh said, “This new injection of funds will be used to double the scale of Fefifo’s pilot co-farms in Perak, Malaysia, over the next six months, grow the operations and bring in key strategic hires for our licensing, technology and data engineering team, taking our self-operated co-farms acreage to a total area of 10 acres of modern commercial farming operations.”
According to Chris Fong, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy and Innovation at Fefifo, “Eighty percent of food Asia consumes is produced by smallholder farmers. Sixty-five percent will retire in 15 years and traditional farming is not profitable enough to attract the next generation. Bringing up smallholder farming efficacy and profitability through modernisation is key to feeding 8.5 billion people by 2030.”
“We are the first to focus on standardising smallholder operations, and we do that by combining digitalisation of commercial farm workflows and democratisation of costly farm systems and infrastructure with a business model that is relatable to smallholder farmers –-rental (“farm-space-as-a-service fee”) and crop profit sharing,” he continues.
Fefifo has launched its pilot co-farm in Perak, with the first two agropreneurs employing Fefifo’s patented technology platform DDFN to cultivate chili and muskmelon.
According to the firm, each agropreneur may earn between MYR50,000 (US $11,000) and MYR70,000 (US $16,700) per farm space each year, which is almost double the income of a fresh graduate in Kuala Lumpur or ten times the income of a conventional subsistence farmer.