Saturday, October 1

Agropartnerships investors lament inaccessibility to investment fund ahead of Yuletide

A few days to the 2021 Yuletide celebration, investors of Agropartnerships; an investment platform powered by Farmforte, have cried out in fear that the agritech platform may not be able to fulfil payment for matured investment before the end of the year.

The investors took to social media to call out Agropartnerships for failing to payout investment alongside returns as at when due especially at a time when the fund is most needed.

Compliant by investors ranged from non-payment of funds to missing funds in wallet, amongst others fueling growing pessimism about the platform.

Matured investment yet unpaid

The platform operates project finance, commodity and farm investment which promises return on investments between 16% to 40%, depending on project and time frame (usually six to 12 months). For instance, the available project finance of the website, Cashew value project offers 40% ROI in 12 months with per unit cost at N250,000.

Others include sold-out Sesame 04 which offers 32% ROI in 9 months, sweet potatoes 08 which offers 36% ROI in 12 months with a per-unit cost of 100,000

Information gathered by Nairametrics reveals that Agropartnerships is yet to pay investors their matured investment dues in December.

An investor identified as OfficialvivianIkeji wrote on Agropartnerships Instagram page, “We haven’t committed a sin giving you guys our money. Why can’t you just pay us in this current situation of the country? You want to scam people off their little one to enrich your heavy pockets. Hold your 600k ROI and pay me my capital, I am not asking for too much. I only need my money that has been with you since March.

Another investor, @Ifejola_ibitomi said, “it’s over 3 days now but yet to receive the funds. You guys said after 3 working days. What is happening please?”

While there are cases of unpaid mature investment, some investors also lamented about withdrawals not reflecting on their wallets.

Begging the investment platform to rectify the issue, @sweetsmellsng wrote on his Instagram, “I did a bank transfer twice into my wallet so I requested a payout of 950k since on the 12/12/21. It still hasn’t reflected in my account. I have sent several emails and nothing is been done. Please can I get my money?”

@Zolaraindustries, another investor said, “Please, I have requested for payout since 16 Dec. The money left my wallet but I am still yet to be credited. Kindly assist. Thanks”

@mz_ruthiiee said, “Please pay me my money. It’s been over 6days now I have requested for payout. The funds have left my wallet and my account is not credited. Please pay me my money o.”

Platform not communicating with investors

In spite of the situation, investors said efforts to reach the platform has been futile. Pleading for urgent release of the fund to be used for families, some investors said all attempts to reach Agropartnerships; via mails, DMs on Instagram, calls, have all been futile.

An investor who goes by the name @totutilly on Instagram said, “Guys why are payouts being delayed for up to 1 week and why am I having to chase you for updates? If there is an issue, the least I would expect is that you keep me updated”

Nairametrics visited Farmforte’s office at No. 8, The Rock Drive, Lekki Phase 1 in Lagos on 21st December but was told that their office was closed for the rest of the year. Also, attempts to reach the platform via phone call has been futile.

A glimpse of hope

While a lot of Agropartnership investors are yet to receive payment for matured funds, it appears that the platform has started paying some investors with less than one unit.

ladyobianuju said, “I think the payments are just delayed. Mine was due on the 15th of December, my wallet was funded later that evening and the payout got to my account today, the 19th of December. However, communicating this would be the best way to ease everyone from panicking. Kindly consider communicating better.”

Also, another investor who spoke with Nairametrics said she is confident that the platform would pay. According to her, the issue currently experienced may be linked to management issues. She said, “I think they are currently having management issues with automatic payout. Though it has been ongoing for a month, I was able to cash out twice last month. Payment has been consistent

Nairametrics found out that only investors with one unit have been paid as of the time of this report but investors are hopeful that those within the range of 1-5 units will be paid within seven working days while those with five to 10 units will be paid in April next year, as seen in a mail forwarded to one of the investors and seen by Nairametrics.

The email states, “If you receive an email, you currently have the option of rolling over funds or receiving a delayed payout in April with additional interest. If you didn’t receive the cashew 04 cycle email, you can receive all/part of your invested funds”

In recent times, there have been rising cases of fraud within the crowdfunding industry, so much that the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 21 2021 established a new set of rules on crowdfunding which by its provisions requires proper structures to be put in place.

While this is regarded as a welcomed development that seeks to regulate crowdfunding in Nigeria, experts say effective implementation of these rules would ensure proper compliance with its provisions and the Commission is charged with this responsibility.