Africa Day 2023: Celebrating African youth agripreneurs

Africa Day is an annual celebration held to appreciate diversity and recognize the strides made towards harnessing the Continent’s economic potential. This year’s theme is “Our Africa, Our Future”. At Generation Africa, we commemorate the day by celebrating all young agripreneurs who are revolutionizing the agriculture sector– with innovations enhancing efficiency in the food value chain, leading to enhanced food security and nutrition.

Celebrating agriculture on Africa Day

Agriculture remains the backbone of most African countries, and has the highest potential to create employment for young people. By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9 billion: half of which will be from the African continent. This population will majorly comprise of youth. As farmers will need to increase their production to feed the growing population, the youth have the power to really impact  the future as changemakers.

The sector continues to face numerous challenges however, some of these are specific to the youth– such as limited access to land, inadequate access to financial services, and absence in policy dialogues leading to inadequate policies supporting youth agri-entrepreneurship, limited adoption and utilization of agricultural research, and limited access to markets.

The challenges notwithstanding, many initiatives today exist to support youth in agribusiness. Generation Africa in particular has many different initiatives aimed at supporting agripreneurs. Notably, the annual GoGettaz Competition and Pitch AgriHack competition awards outstanding young and innovative African agripreneurs with cash prizes  to grow their enterprises.  

Youth founders highlight 

This Africa Day, we highlight and celebrate Generation Africa’s youth agripreneurs. You can read some of their stories below.

Eslam Babiker Adam Ahmed, Founder of Damsora Plus, Sudan

Agriculture is the most important economic sector in Darfur, Sudan. Competition for land, food, and water due to many years of hunger, famine, and drought are some of the underlying causes of war and increasing tension in the region. The war forced many residents to flee from their homes and settle in refugee camps for safety and basic needs, such as food given as aid by donors and other well-wishers. 

Eslam Babiker Adam Ahmed founded Damsora Plus to provide nutritious and ready-to-eat balanced meals made from locally-sourced ingredients from small-scale farmers.

The startup also sells nutritious and affordable meals to 200 boarding house students, as well as breastfeeding mothers and farmers. Their aim is to improve nutrition outcomes in the country.

Allasandro da Gama, Founder of Imfuyo Technologies, South Africa

The beef industry in South Africa is one of the most robust industries in Africa, with a market share worth $1.5 billion. To address insecurity issues facing most livestock-keeping communities, Allasandro da Gama founded Imfuyo Technologies. They have developed an innovative smart-farming platform that uses state-of-the-art IoT technology and cloud-based algorithms to collect and analyze data on livestock behavior and location. Farmers can also access affordable financial services and invest more in their farms, helping drive inclusion and sustainability within the industry.

The startup focuses on livestock farmers who rear cows and sheep at large scale, targeting those with unreliable network infrastructure to help them secure real time information about movement and health status of their livestock. 

Clifford Plastid Hoglonou, Founder of Alcoford Corporation, Togo

Ethanol is normally used for  food grade production, cosmetics, and (when denatured) it can be used for medical purposes.Bioethanol production from cassava is made through fermentation of cassava wort, using yeast under controlled temperature and multiple distillation to produce high quality, odorless and colorless ethanol.

Alcoford Corporation operates on a “zero waste economic model” by controlling the supply chain of raw materials, water, and waste management. This process involves the anaerobic fermentation of cassava wort, with the resulting waste  reused  in the same biodigester to produce energy and organic fertilizer for smallholder-farmers in Togo.

Naledi Magowe, Co-Founder ofBrastorne Enterprises, Botswana

Brastorne Enterprises leverages digital infrastructure by collaborating with telecom networks to offer low-cost data for rural smallholder farmers. One of its products,mAgri is a USSD-compatible mobile application helping farmers access timely agricultural information. This can range from farming tipson how to improve yields, following market prices, and early warning alerts for climate catastrophes that can adversely affect their production.

The service has been widely adopted by farmers in rural areas because it does not require an internet connection.

Brice Ludovic, Founder of Freshbag, Cameroon

In many African countries, street food vendors play a critical role in the food distribution chain. Unfortunately, they receive less support to grow their business.

Freshbag is an innovative digital platform that connects farmers and vendors to ensure a fair and reliable food supply network. The startup buys different agricultural produce from farmers and suppliers at fair market prices and dispatches the products to thousands of street vendors in cities across Cameroon. To further strengthen the ecosystem, Freshbag offers micro-loans and technical assistance to partner farmers, distributors, and vendors. 

Cecil Chikezie, Founder of Eco Makaa, Kenya

In 2017, Kenya banned charcoal production, as high consumption of charcoal is one of the major contributors to deforestation, taking a toll on local systems such as water catchment areas and survival of other tree species. This ban resulted to continued smuggling of charcoal from neighboring countries– an activity which is illegal and punishable  by law.

Eco Makaa is an e-commerce platform that recruits and connects producers of cheaper eco-friendly alternatives to charcoal, in the form of briquettes, to the client base. These fuel briquettes are solely made from carbonized agricultural waste such as maize cobs and sugarcane bagasse.

By selling 120 kilograms of briquettes, the startups offsets cutting down of eucalyptus trees while making 30% profit from sales of the briquettes.

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