Founded: 2019
Partnered: 2019
Sector: Agriculture
Industry: Biofertiliser
Product: Multi-faceted adjustable, precision soil deep working apparatus
Market Size: (G): USD 2.3 Billion (L): ZAR 413 Million
Differentiation: Product Development
Investment Stage: Incubation
Stage: Incubation
Team: Nkululeko Ngqinambi

About Smartroots

Smartroots aims to solve is the lack of access to affordable, effective and environmentally sustainable biofertiliser options for smallholder and subsistence farmers in developing countries. This is a subsection of the much larger problem that the current growth in food production is not able to keep up with the exponentially increasing population, while at the same time traditional phosphate based biofertilisers are reported to be running out.

Smallholder and subsistance farming is expected to play a significant role in this and therefore, new innovative ways to increase the efficiency of this part of the agricultural sector is required, especially in Africa and South Africa.

Value Proposition

To improve food productivity and increase profitability in order to remain competitive. It is critical that smallholder farmers increase the agronomic efficiency (increase in yield per unit fertiliser and water applied) of their crop production. Most of the nutrients in applied fertilisers are not used by plants and end up lost to the environment. As much as 60% of the nutrients in applied fertilisers does not get used by plants. This is caused by inefficient application of fertilisers in terms of application rates and what is needed by plants but mostly due to plant roots inefficiency in absorbing nutrients and available water from the soil.

Traditional phosphate based fertilisers are overapplied and it is claimed that between 75 – 95%, of these fertilisers are not taken up by the crops they are applied to. The excess either stays in the soil and is turned into a non-unabsorbable form or during times of heavy rainfall, get washed into rivers and lakes.

SmartRoot™ Enhancer, contains four top performing mycorrhizal species effective with 85% of land plants, for smallholder/subsistence farming and organic farming. SmartRoot™ Booster has the potential to increase crop yields by 30%-50% without having to increase dosage of nutrient supply (biofertiliser).


Nkululeko Ngqinambi

Mr Ngqinambi is the Founder of Smartroots and the mastermind behind the development of the product and the business of Smartroots . With a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Chemistry and Geology and further training in project planning focused on social innovation.

Likhaya Fanga

Mr Fanga joined the team later on in 2018 recruited as the Operations Officer. Mr Fanga holds an Honors degree in Mathematical Statistics and has 4years’ experience as a Quantitative Analyst at National Treasury focusing in sovereign debt risk management.

Dr Lindy J Rose: Advisor

Dr Lindy J Rose – plant pathologist and a lecture at with department of plant pathology at Stellenbosch University. Dr Rose has done extensive research regarding mycorrhizal fungi and crop production during her master’s thesis She is involved as an advisor to the Smartroots team as we have no field domain expertise in plants and agriculture. Her involvement is in her personal capacity, not as a representative of the university.

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