“ PHEMA AGRI AND MAGOFARM LIMITED” Winners of Gogettaz Agripreneur prize 2020.

Agriculture as the backbone of many African country is striving because individuals and institutions are leveraging technology to unlock all the untapped potential in this sector.

The GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize is a pan-African competition for innovative, young entrepreneurs pursuing the trillion-dollar opportunity of Africa’s agri-food sector.This competition started in April 2020 and took a seal this month during the Africa Green Revolution Forum Virtual Summit held in Rwanda.

The two winners of the 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize emerged the best were announced on 11th September 2020. MOSES KATALA co-founder and CEO of MAGOFARM LIMITED (Rwanda) Magofarm is an insect technology startup that turns food waste into insect protein for animal feed, which they deliver straight to farmers based on an individual needs analysis and DANIELA KWAYU, co-founder and CEO of PHEMA AGRI (Tanzania) Phema Agri is a digital agriculture investment platform that provides smallholder farmers with blended finance with an aim to de-risk the value chain.

Each winner will receive $50,000 to support and expand their agribusiness operations. Part of the Generation Africa youth initiative, the prize aims to identify and inspire young people across Africa to seize the opportunities across the value chain of the $1 trillion agrifood industry on the continent in the decades ahead.

The other 10 in the the 12 top finalists were
The Farm – Malawi
Agnes Kanjala: The Farm is a social enterprise that trains farmers to boost their productivity by producing by-products to raise livestock and link them new market. https://www.f6s.com/thefarmmw

OBRI Tanzania – Tanzania, United Republic of
Brigitha Faustin: OBRI Tanzania produces local sunflower oil. To get quality seeds, they train smallholder farmers in sustainable land use, and organic and environmental standards. https://obritanzania.com/

Mhogo Foods – Kenya
Elizabeth Gikebe: Mhogo Foods is a socially conscious cassava processor making gluten-free flour, crisps, starch and animal feeds while also training and supporting farmers. http://www.mhogofoods.com/

Soupah Farm-en-Market Limited – Nigeria
Ifeoluwa Olatayo: Soupah Farm-en-Market Limited designed and use USSD apps and blockchain technology to build an efficient, traceable supply chain connecting smallholders to food vendors and markets. https://farm-en-market.soupah.ng/

Achiever Foods Limited – Ghana
Millicent Agidipo: Achiever Foods Limited is on a mission to save lives with organic foods that promote blood health and a strong immune system. https://www.f6s.com/achieversfoodteam

Kharbouch Barhoum: Lombrisol has designed and built a vermicompost machine that automates organic fertiliser production from food waste, using earthworms. https://lombrisol.ma/

Integrated Aerial Systems – South Africa
Dexter Tangocci: Integrated Aerial Systems uses drones for precision crop spraying and multispectral surveys to give farmers actionable data about underperforming crops. https://iasystems.co.za/

Solar Freeze – Kenya
Dysmus Kisilu: Solar Freeze helps smallholder farmers battle post-harvest losses with mobile, solar powered cold storage and “sharing economy” cold-chain logistics. https://www.solarfreeze.co.ke/

GoMarkit – Sierra Leone
Fadja Djiou Barry: GoMarkit SL is food supply and delivery business enabling food vendors, retailers and consumers purchase produce from smallholders via their GoMarkit app. https://gomarkitsl.com/

Vertical and Micro Gardening (VMG) – Uganda
Paul Matovu: Vertical and Micro Gardening (VMG) builds autonomous farm towers to make urban farming a viable micro-enterprise for low-income households. https://www.f6s.com/verticalandmicrogardening

All these finalists will receive mentorship, program linkages and other guidance to continue their entrepreneurial journeys.

The entrepreneurs were selected by the judges for the notable environmental or social impact of their businesses, each striving to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and benefit their communities.

Desert Locusts in East Africa: The most destructive migratory pests the world.

East African countries have been facing a massive invasion of desert locusts. Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are the most affected countries. Earlier this year Tanzania reportedly detected swarms in its northern boarder areas close to Mount Kilimanjaro and started taking measures designed to effectively combat the menace.

This Locusts invasion has caused destructions on crops which results to the problem of food insecurity and may push millions of people to hunger and threaten export earnings in affected areas.

One square kilometre swarm can contain about 40 million locusts, which eat about the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people. An average swarm can destroy crops sufficient to feed 2,500 people for a year. Sometimes as many as 80 million locusts crowd into each square kilometre of the swarm, and they can travel more than 90 miles in a day (BBC). 

Samburu men attempt to fend-off a swarm of desert locusts flying over a grazing land in Lemasulani village, Samburu County, Kenya

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports the insects destroyed more than 175,000 acres of farmland in Somalia and Ethiopia by the end of December. The sheer size of the swarms in Kenya and Ethiopia give rise to great concern over even larger swarms during harvest season. 

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been using different ways to overcome the problem of desert locusts including the use of Geographical Positioning System to locate the locusts and aerial operations like the bio pesticide spraying.

Pesticides are said to have adverse effects to human health, during application people have to consider necessary measures like choosing appropriate pesticides and control techniques which are effective and has minimal impact to human health and the local environment. Pesticides should be stored properly to avoid risks of leakage. The pesticide containers should be well cleaned, recycled or destroyed because if they are left in the field they may cause serious health problems to the local people in case they use them to store water or food.  

FAO is still searching for alternatives to control desert locusts while saving the environment and people’s well-being. Taking into consideration the use of biological insecticides which are efficient but less harmful to other organisms.

Strong partnership between FAO, local communities, country’s government and other interest parties is a key to fight against and eliminate desert locusts. Also the governments must provide education on how people can identify the locusts so that they would inform appropriate bodies for immediate action.

“We can and must protect vulnerable people from the impact of multiple crises: conflicts, climate extremes, desert locusts and COVID-19, which threaten to cause a further dramatic deterioration in their food security,” said Mr. Qu, the FAO Director General.

The Need for Digital Agriculture.

“Re Frame-Shift the way you work, innovate, and think” Mona Patel.

Digital agriculture solutions is key to unlocking the potentials of Agriculture in Tanzania.

Have you ever heard about WeFarm ?? If not, WeFarm is a digital platform where farmers connect to solve problems,share ideas and spread innovation for free without needing an internet connection. By last year this company had expanded operations in Tanzania after helping more than 1.5 million small scale farmers in Kenya and Uganda to share information and knowledge about farming activities.

Another digital solution that continues to gain exceptional traction across the continent because of the ability of technology, is mobile phones, that connects people and make a real difference in their lives. Mobile penetration is already at the 85 percent mark, according to Ericsson’s latest Sub-Saharan Africa Mobility Report, and this number is only going to increase exponentially, with predictions that it will hit 105 percent by as early as 2022. This indicates the potential of digital finance solutions to effect real change that will impact a broad cross-section of Africa’s people.

There are also digital platforms in Tanzania like Phema Agri, Agrimark, Agriprofocus and many others which work to increase efficiencies in the country’s agricultural sectors in a secure, simple and transparent way. These platforms connects farmers, buyers and agents through both feature and smartphones and facilitates the entire transaction, removing the need for the country’s farmers to walk long distances to sell their produce at markets. As a result of more direct access to buyers, the ability to network by sending SMSes about their produce and overall greater price transparency, farmers are also typically able to make a higher profit on the value of their goods.

Agriculture is a backbone of Tanzania economy as it contributes to more than one quarter of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It also plays a big role in the provision of raw materials to both processing and manufacturing industries. Its importance therefore cannot be underestimated – making it vital to develop tools to support the industry.Many farmers still need to be educated about digital solutions such as the use of robots, temperature and moisture sensors, GPS technology, e.t.c to increase their yields as well as add value to their products.

Who told you Agriculture is only about farming?

It’s not only about growing food for people and animals. It involves a large number of activities and processes.
Do you like bread? White bread, brown bread, burgers? Just think of the plate of bread on your table….it has gone through a number of processes from the farm to our tables.
Just like bread, all the food we eat undergoes a number of activities from planting of seeds, taking care of the farm to harvesting, from transportation, storage to processing, wholesale, retail and finally, consumption.
The whole process/ value chain of agricultural products focuses not only on providing food, but also improving quality of agricultural products and efficiency in agriculture production.
For agriculture to continue feeding the world, it requires major technological advancements which will help farmers to use less effort and get high yields.

The use of efficient irrigation schemes such as drip irrigation systems allow farmers to use less effort while producing goods of high quality and quantity. Also, application of scientific knowledge like genetic manipulation, especially in animals, can help farmers to improve productivity of their livestock.
Modern technology such as greenhouse farming and aquaponics can improve farmers’ productivity at minimum cost of production.

We should invest more in improving the farmer’s productivity by providing them with, working capital, updated market information and efficient technology tools so as to enable them to get high quality yields for them to easily secure the market.

In Tanzania, Agriculture sector is a backbone of the economy but its contribution to county’s GDP is not sufficient enough. In the second quarter of 2019, contribution to GDP was 8033694.74 TZS Million and it decreased to 5573086 TZS Million in the third quarter of 2019.

Also, agriculture sector is highly dependable by the majority of Tanzanians as most of them live in rural areas, over 70% of the population, and they are engaging in crop production and animal keeping for food and for income generation. And those living in urban areas are either directly or indirectly linked to agricultural activities such as value addition, selling of agricultural produces, and developing Agri-technologies such as mobile applications to assist farmers. Agriculture sector provides about 67% of employment in Tanzania.