Monday, July 22, 2024
Home Change Makers Agrictech Innovators Recognised

Agrictech Innovators Recognised

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Prossy Nandudu

Youth innovators in agriculture have been awarded for crafting technologies addressing some of the challenges faced by smallholder farmers.

The three include an Ethiopian who started an innovation that produces bio-fertilizers, hence reducing dependency by farmers on manufactured synthetic fertilizers.

The second winner from Kenya was recognized for starting a digitized grain silo to reduce post-harvest losses while the third winner from Nigeria has digitized extension services which has enabled farmers to access services easily.

The three according to a statement from Heifer International’s AYuTe NextGen initiative, emerged the best, out of the 15 innovators including Ugandans.

Under the theme ‘Reimagining Africa’s Agriculture in the Next 50 Years’, AYuTe NextGen brought together young agritech innovators and agripreneurs from Africa, as well as stakeholders in the continent’s agriculture and youth development sector.

Entries for this year’s AYuTe Africa NextGen were taken from among the finalists of national competitions in several countries.

Presenting the awards to the winners, Surita Sandosham, the President and CEO of Heifer International, advised the winners to consider themselves as architects of a transformed agricultural landscape.

“We are energized by the tremendous potential we see in young African innovators. Their creativity and dedication to developing cutting-edge solutions that empower smallholder farmers in Africa is exactly what the continent needs to build a more secure and prosperous future,” she said.

According to Heifer International secretariat, the awarding ceremony, that took place in Kigali last week was aimed at inspiring a new generation of young agripreneurs and innovators throughout Africa for the next 50 years of agricultural transformation on the continent.

In his keynote address, the Rwanda Minister of State for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Eric Rwigamba, noted that the youth are the future.

“We cannot imagine the future of Africa’s agriculture without young people or technology,” he said.

He added that, “I am inspired by the innovations of all the 15 AYuTe NextGen finalists and I look forward to seeing their impact on the continent.”

The inaugural AYuTe NextGen is part of activities lined up this year as it celebrates 80 years of supporting smallholder farmers globally and 50 years in Africa.

The winners unveiled at the event will join an elite group of AYuTe Champions spearheading agriculture innovation through technology to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, added Adesuwa Ifedi, Heifer’s Senior Vice President.

She gave an example of Hello Tractor, Heifer’s implementation partner on its mechanization initiative for Africa by providing the pay-as-you-go service when acquiring or renting a tractor.

Although the initiative is in its pilot phase, it has already increased income of farmers in three countries by as much as 227%, while birthing an energized agribusiness ecosystem that has unlocked millions of dollars in commercial capital and created hundreds of jobs for young people.

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