Emiliano Mroue – Raising $7.5 million to scale from working with 20.000 to 100.000 farmers

A conversation with Emiliano Mroue, founder of WARC, about their recent funding round, being close to the farmers and why he left a corporate job in Germany to start a farmer focussed anti poverty company in Sierra Leone which turned into a company serving today over 20.000 farmers, mostly in Ghana, in the transition to more regenerative practices. What is their secret to be close to the farmers always, not quite often but always?

Smallholder maize farmers at the edge of the Sahara, brutal circumstances in the Sahel mean most farmers are growing to eat and to survive and, with climate change and current farming practices burn and deep tilling, their survival is literally on the line. These soils can be depleted in a decade or less, not like in the global North where we might have 50 to 60 harvests left. So how do you go about behaviour change with farmers that are in poverty, you want to help them to change, but don’t want to risk their fragile livelihood? How do you find the recipes that work in the local context?

In March 2024, the Ghana-based agricultural service provider Warc Africa has successfully closed its Series B round, securing $7.5 million. The fresh capital raised aims to boost Warc Africa’s reach to serve over 100,000 farmers in Ghana, increase their incomes, and protect the soils. 



Emiliano describes a pivot in the company’s business model 2.5 years ago, focusing on behavioural change and supporting smallholder farmers differently.

”The moment in which things started to change for us was two years ago, when we made a considerable pivot in our business modelling and how we engage with smallholder farmers. And, you know, this is all about, in our opinion, mostly behavioural change and finding ways to support farmers in doing a few things differently. Adopt some practices differently, trade differently, aggregate differently, protect their crops differently, and so on and so forth. And we started doing something significantly different two and a half years ago. And that is the model that we still have today, and that is the model that is working, and we are now scaling.” – Emiliano Mroue


They prioritise sustainable, always-close relationships with farmers through local trading hubs run by women.

”It makes a massive difference being close to farmers, always. And the always, and I underline the always, that’s the fundamental element. Five, six years ago, we built an extension model with lots of, we call them, farmer connectors in the farm, on the ground, visiting farmers once a week or twice a week, whatever it is, which is a fairly high frequency for an extension model. But that’s not always; that’s quite often, right? The thing that made the biggest difference is that we put the time and effort into trying to figure out how we could sustainably be close to the farmers, always.”

– Emiliano Mroue

”We are building a network of what we call trading hubs. A trading hub is basically a small piece of infrastructure that we build in every single village in which we operate, and that trading hub is run by two women. And they are there every single day. And our focus is on supporting these women; they are work employees. So, they work with us in training those women, in nourishing and nurturing those women, so that then they can support the farmers in the village. Today, we have around 100 of these training hubs. And that basically means that we are there always, and that always changes the way in which we relate to the farmers.”

– Emiliano Mroue


Emiliano explains how their organisation stores and manages maize in trading hubs, with a focus on proximity to farmers to ensure freshness and reduce waste, highlighting the importance of trust and transparency in the supply chain.

”I put that example because it is probably the most visual one to illustrate how being there always makes a change in the behaviour of a farmer who was selling all their maize all together, and now they’re splitting it and selling it in small quantities. Being always there builds a much stronger bond of trust because they know that the transactions are transparent, that we are there, that they know where to find us, and so on. And that trust enables us to disseminate, support, or encourage farmers to try different things and different practices, and here is when, of course, the regen ag part comes in.” – Emiliano Mroue


Emiliano is working with farmers to switch to a no-till model, encouraging them to use hand- push planters for no-till farming to reduce costs and improve soil health.

”The first thing that we feel we need to do or think we need to do is persuade as many farmers to switch to a no-till model. Here we are doing different things, and we have tested many different things from large scale, no-till planting machines, and Argentina is particularly big in that. We have this, nine metre planting machines that are pulled by 250 horsepower tractors and stuff like that. We have tried that, too, all the way to a manual, no till planter, and seeing what works best for farmers, and now we are encouraging pretty much all the farmers with whom we work, we are facilitating, and putting at their disposal this hand push, no till planters, so that they could at least put 1/4, 1/5 of their land under no till. And hopefully, then moving into more and more of that.” – Emiliano Mroue

”We need to show, and actually what they need to believe by doing it themselves, is that no- till has little or no impact from a yield perspective, from a crop quality. And it’s a lot cheaper, and obviously, indirectly, it has the regen ag, or, let’s say, the soil protection component, which of course we explain constantly to farmers, and this is just one example. On top of that, we tried to persuade farmers not to burn; that’s very complicated.” – Emiliano Mroue


Koen and Emiliano also talked about:

  • If they don’t farm they don’t eat
  • We should monitize
  • Verbalise your goals aloud




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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

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