He strongly believes that empowering African smallholder farmers will create more value and be helpful for the whole population. 

Joseph Ogwal (photo) is a Ugandan agricultural entrepreneur and the founder/CEO of Agro Supply Ltd, an agritech company founded in 2017. Through his agritech company, he developed and operates a mobile savings platform that enables farmers to save and invest in seeds, inputs, and equipment. The platform is accessible via a USSD code to reach everyone, even those without smartphones.   

“[...] The Global population is rising which requires 60% more food to feed nine billion people by 2050. Farmers can be and should be a key part of the solution. If farmers can manage their cash and invest their resources in their farms, they will not only increase food production but will also pave their own and their families’ way out of poverty. With access to a mobile savings tool, we know farmers can self-finance the inputs and training they need to provide for their families and to break the cycle of poverty,” says Joseph Ogwal. 

He also offers, through the agritech company, vital information and agronomy training remotely (either via SMS or an AI system) or in person. He also networks his community of some 15,000 farmers (currently) with large buyers to facilitate production sales at better prices. 

Before Agro Supply Ltd, Joseph Ogwal, who holds a bachelor's in Agronomy and Crop Science, sharpened his agricultural expertise while working as a regional value chain manager for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). 

He is an alumnus of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program, the Young African Leaders Initiative, and a 2018 Swedish Institute Management Programme Africa Fellow. He is also among the entrepreneurs whose startups have been selected for the Social & Inclusive Business Camp 2022.

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

As she explains, she entered the agritech sector to help farmers improve their income. The choice proves sound as she is now a multiple award winner thanks to her ventures. 

Anaporka Adazabra (photo) is a Ghanaian tech entrepreneur and the CEO and co-founder of agritech company Farmio Limited.  Her agritech company, launched in July 2019, provides digital solutions for greenhouse farming. Thanks to its farm management software, it provides users with real-time access to agronomic information essential for crop selection and planning. 

The software also assists in resources, operations, and finance management. Thanks to its Greenhouse Automation Kit, Farmio Limited also enables farmers to remotely monitor their greenhouses and crops. It also provides an online marketplace for its clients to sell their crops.  

For Adazabra, who also offers greenhouse farming training, the aim is to  "help new and existing greenhouse farmers improve their production and income." 

She launched Farmio Limited a few months before taking on the role of business development manager at Inkeit Innovation, an IT company she co-founded in 2019. The said company specializes in website and software development, and language (French and German) teaching.  

Before embarking on her entrepreneurial journey, Anaporka Adazabra worked at Dansyn Innovation Social Organization's web technology and social media office between 2018 and 2021. Thanks to her entrepreneurial ventures, she won the 2022 Best Female Entrepreneur Award at the TotalEnergies Startupper of the Year Challenge. She is also a finalist for the Best Women-Led Agribusiness Award at the AgriHack Pitch sponsored by the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) and Heifer International.

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

The tech solution networks farmers, agronomists, and buyers to allow access to agricultural advisory and improve producers’ income. 

Wagui is a digital app developed by a Gabonese eponymous startup, founded in 2018, by Marlyse Mapaga and Tamarah Moutotekema Boussamba. It offers useful recommendations to help farmers improve their production and income.  

“By creating Wagui, I wanted to address the networking problems faced by farmers and producers but also improve their revenues. My aim was also to facilitate access to the agricultural advisory. Wagui can be improved thanks to users’ feedback. Our challenge is to include everyone into the value chains,”  indicates Tamarah Moutotekema Boussamba.

Wagui networks farmers, buyers, and agronomists. It was born from the experience of one of its team’s relative who was able to pinpoint the problems faced in the agricultural sector. Currently, it is accessible via an Android app only. 

In 2018, Wagui received the second prize for the best technology solution at the Africa Code Hackathon competition held in Egypt. The following year, it joined the Gabon Digital Incubation Company, a public company whose ambition is to boost “African companies’ competitiveness through digital transformation.”  

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

Artificial intelligence helps address numerous economic challenges. In the agriculture sector, which is the main source of employment and livelihood in developing countries, it contributes to the improvement of agritech solutions. 

Agrix Tech is a digital platform developed by the eponymous Cameroonian agritech startup. The app helps small farmers efficiently treat plant diseases, control weeds, and fight crop pests thanks to artificial intelligence. 

According to Agrix Tech founder Adamou Nchange Kouotou, “in developing countries, most small farmers are self-taught with no proper skills in the management of crop diseases and pests.” 

Hence the development of Agrix Tech. The platform has an Android app that allows farmers to register for its services. To get plant disease management recommendations, farmers scan the affected plants using the Agrix Tech app and let the startup automatically analyze the video collected and send adequate recommendations.  

The platform can also help farmers determine the best crops for a said soil, the best farm maintenance techniques, and best practices. To allow farmers with low literacy, or even illiterates, to access its services, the app integrates speech and text recognition technology that can identify several local languages. 

The startup offers its services to small farmers for free. But, to generate revenues for its operations, it sells ad spaces and user licenses to agriculture consulting firms. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

Africa’s agriculture sector is still largely under-exploited despite the important volume of arable lands on the continent. Some of the problems contributing to that fact are poor agricultural practices and traditional cultivation methods. To address the problems in that vital sector, startups are developing innovative solutions. 

Wefly is an Ivorian agritech startup founded in 2017 by Joseph-Olivier Biley and purchased by Jool International in 2021. Thanks to its agricultural engineers and its tech solutions, the startup allows users to set up, manage and optimize plantations. To fulfill its mission, it developed several products including WeFly GIS.

WeFly GIS is the digital solution developed by the agritech to provide farm owners (notably those who are unable to devote their whole time to exploitation tasks) with adequate tools to optimize their productions.  Among other things, the solution - accessible through a web and mobile platform-  allows the collection, analysis, and storage of farm exploitation data. It also enables farm owners to geo-locate their workers, trace production and timely identify exploitation problems.  The startup also offers drone services like weather forecasting, soil needs, and cartography.  

To access its services, farm owners must first register by providing a set of information including the type of exploitation (a cooperative or a sole-ownership), contact details, and farm location.  Then the user needs to buy annual licenses. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

In about eight years, he succeeded in making Farmerline a choice partner for Ghanaian smallholder farmers. His ambition is to do the same in the whole of Africa in the coming years.

Ghanaian entrepreneur Alloysius Attah (photo, left) is the co-founder and CEO of AgTech Farmerline. Co-founded in 2013 with Emmanuel Owusu Addai (photo, left), his startup supports farmers’ growth and performance with a combination of digital and logistics tools. It specifically improves farmers’ access to market information, farm inputs, and funds. 

The tech entrepreneur graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in 2012, with a BSc in Natural Resource Management.  In 2021, he obtained the Standford Seed Transformation Program Certificate from the Standford University Graduate School of Business. 

Thanks to Farmerline, Alloysius Attah was one of the seven finalists for the 2014 Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards. In 2015, he was a guest lecturer at the Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellows Program, Cornell University, New York. The same year, his dynamism secured Farmerline a spot in the European Union’s CTA Top 20 Innovations that Benefit Smallholder Farmers. In November 2021, the young entrepreneur was one of the speakers invited to the  Bloomberg New Economy Forum organized under the theme “Feeding the World: Agriculture and the Health of the Planet.” 

In about eight years, he succeeded in making Farmerline a choice partner for Ghanaian smallholder farmers. His ambition is to do the same in the whole of Africa in the coming years. For that purpose, in April 2022, he secured US$12.9 million in pre-Series A funding. US$6.4 million was invested by Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund, Greater Impact Foundation, and Dutch Development Bank FMO. The remaining US$6.5 million was secured as debt participation from DEG, Rabobank, Ceniarth, Rippleworks, Mulago Foundation, Whole Planet Foundation, Netri Foundation, and Kiva. 

“With this new investment, we will scale the AI capabilities within Farmerline’s Mergdata platform to help increase the income of farmers and agribusinesses; supporting them to access farm inputs; supplying them with assets such as tricycles, tractors, and threshers; and connecting them to global markets,” Mr. Attah said. The startup also plans to deepen its relations with Ivorian partners. 

Melchior Koba  

Published in TECH STARS

Agriculture is the cornerstone of several economies in Africa. Yet, the sector is underexploited. With the emergence of innovative digital solutions, hopes are high that the agriculture sector will actively contribute to development on the continent. 

Apollo Agriculture is a Kenyan startup founded in 2016 by  Benjamin Njenga, Earl St Sauver, and Eli Pollak. Through its digital platform, accessible through an android app only, it allows farmers access to inputs, funding, and previously inaccessible markets.  

It aims to help its users maximize their profits. Since its creation, the startup has completed several funding rounds, totaling US$52.2 million, to upgrade its technology and support growth. 

We are continuing to invest in growing faster; serving more farmers, helping them increase their acreage, and speeding up business. And So it will be a continued expansion in both Kenya and new markets,” said CEO Eli Pollak.   

To access the services offered by Apollo Agriculture, farmers must register through the android app, and provide information including their marital status and their cultivated areas. After that step, Apollo Agriculture collects satellite imagery of the farms and uses artificial intelligence to estimate solvency and machine learning to make better decisions concerning the loans that can be granted to a specific farmer. 

The startup claims over 100,000 farmers, more than a thousand retailers, and 5,000 agents, who operate across the country to attract farmers even from the most remote areas. For 2022, its ambition is to double the number of farmers in its portfolio. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

After four years of professional career, Uka Eje traveled abroad to sharpen his skills to efficiently meet the needs of the more than 200,000 farmers he assists.  

Uka Eje was born and raised in a farming community in Benue State, Nigeria. Though he found his passion for agriculture quite early, the man who birthed agritech Thrive Agric started committing to farmers between 2012 and 2016. During this period, Eje was working at Royal Impact Corp, “a social enterprise that builds systems around the food, agricultural, and technological sectors and aimed at solving the daily challenges faced by a targeted community. There, he grasped the many opportunities agriculture could offer if proper practices were implemented.

In 2016, the Nigerian entrepreneur co-founded Thrive Agric with Ayodeji Arikawe to improve the living conditions of smallholder farmers.

Leveraging technology, Thrive Agric collects and analyzes farm management data to make smallholder farmers more productive, notably by devising personalized financing, farming, and marketing plans.

To be more useful to farmers, Uka Eje enrolled in food production courses at the University of Reading, and Innovation courses at Leeds University between 2016 and 2017.

In March 2022, Uka Eje successfully raised US$56.4 million to expand the operations of his startup, which was claiming more than 200,000 farmers in his client base at the time. His expansion targets are notably Ghana, Zambia, and Kenya. “The new investment takes us one step closer to fulfilling our mission of building the largest network of profitable African farmers using technology to ensure food security,” he said after the fundraising operation.

To date, Thrive Agric has funded more than 15,000 farmers across 20 states in Nigeria. The achievement earned Uka Eje various awards, including the 2018 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) award. He was also featured in Forbes’ Top 30 under 30 Most Promising Africans in 2019. The same year, Thrive Agric was selected to participate in the  Y Combinator Winter 2019 batch and the Go Global Africa fund, in the Google Developers Launchpad. In 2021, Africa CEO Summit named Thrive Agric one of Africa’s most promising startups.

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

Afrikamart is a Senegalese fresh produce distribution startup that offers its marketing services to agri-food producers. It has an online platform where merchants, hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets can buy their fresh products. Launched in 2018, Afrikamart was founded after Mignane Diouf, its founder, noticed that it was easier for retailers to import fruit and vegetables from Morocco than to buy them locally in Senegal.  

The startup collects fresh products from thousands of producers in rural areas for distribution to retailers in urban areas. In doing so, it guarantees better incomes for farmers, better prices for retailers, and quality products for end consumers.  

To become Afrikamart suppliers, producers fill in contact information to allow the startup to reach out for more information about their products and whether they can be sold on the platform.

Clients also have to follow a set of procedures like the products they are willing to buy and which quantity they are planning to buy weekly. 

Afrikamart claims to have delivered 8,000 kilograms of products daily in 2021 and created 200 indirect jobs thanks to the collaboration with more than 600 agri-food producers. Its long-term plan is to expand into more West African markets by building on the supply chain expertise and the success it acquired in Senegal.  

Adoni Conrad Quenum 

Published in Solutions

Clinic Agro has helped analyze thousands of hectares of cultivable lands in several African countries. The ambition of its developer, Pyrrus Koudjou, is to improve food security and help lift farmers out of poverty.

Pyrrus Koudjou (photo)’s plant clinic, ClinicAgro, recently launched a fundraising campaign to expand its operations. The agricultural startup created in 2019 is the result of a discussion between its creator and a farmer. During that discussion, Pyrrus Koudjou discovered the various problems facing the agricultural sector.  Realizing that the problems are almost the same everywhere, he decided to find a solution to provide farmers with vital information needed for the success of their activities.   

"Africa […] and Cameroon in particular, need stable food supplies because the population is growing exponentially. In that context, we must help farmers optimize their production and space utilization, reduce their ecological footprint and preserve natural resources for future generations," explains the social entrepreneur and computer scientist.  

Connected to a mobile app through Bluetooth, the ClinicAgro kit offers advanced diagnostics of soils and diseases that can affect plants. Within 60 seconds, it can provide various indicators like fertilization rate, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium level or the nutrient index.

Based on the result of the analysis, ClinicAgro will provide recommendations to improve the soil, its yields, and ultimately the farmer’s income. Users can also submit pictures of diseased plants for an artificial intelligence algorithm to identify the disease affecting that plant and appropriate solutions.

Available in 6 languages, ClinicAgro is a decision-making tool essential for farmers.  The eponymous start-up was officially launched in February 2021. To date, ClinicAgro has manufactured 12 kits, which have been deployed in several countries, including Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Togo, and France. Some 1,200 hectares of land have been analyzed using the technological solution.  

"What motivates me every day is my target audience: farmers. My goal is to find solutions to help them achieve optimal yields,” says Pyrrus Koudjou, whose target is to help analyze 1.8 million hectares of cultivable lands in Cameroon.

Pyrrus Koudjou is a tech enthusiast. He has developed several solutions based on artificial intelligence. Thanks to ClinicAgro, he received numerous awards including the Coup de  Cœur awards during Med’Innovant Africa 2019, the grand prize of Antic 2019, and Cultivez le Numérique Morocco as well as the main prize of  Espoir Afric Startup Summit 2019 in Paris. In 2019, as the top winner of Orange Social Entrepreneur, Pyrrus Koudjou joined the acceleration program offered at Orange digital center Douala. Thanks to the mentorship program, he was able to develop the prototype and the commercial version of ClinicAgro.  

Ruben Tchounyabe

Published in Solutions
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