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Innovate for agriculture

New CTA report demonstrates how young ICT entrepreneurs are innovating to transform agriculture

March 29, 2016

Increasing agricultural productivity in developing countries and promoting youth employment and entrepreneurship are important recommendations of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) play an important role. Young entrepreneurs using ICT innovations are particularly suited to contribute to increased agricultural productivity and sustainability given their inventiveness, energy and capacity to take risks. 

publication alesi youth 425Book cover: Innovate for Agriculture: Young ICT Entrepreneurs Addressing Challenges and Transforming Agriculture, CTA, 2016.

An increasing number of young innovative entrepreneurs in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are developing ICTs for agriculture solutions to support agricultural value chains, providing employment and livelihood opportunities.

To highlight ACP entrepreneurs’ important contribution and to emphasise the need for strengthening their endeavours, CTA, in collaboration with Ashoka's Youth Venture, has produced the publication Innovate for Agriculture.

The report introduces 30 innovators, 21 featured with full stories, and nine ‘innovators to watch’. Case studies include innovations from Barbados, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. A couple of innovators who come from outside ACP but offer services in these regions are also featured. The publication is a collection of life stories of interest to aspiring agri-tech entrepreneurs from all countries.

Featured innovations include: how the innovation came about; what problems it addresses; how the innovations are implemented; impacts so far; the business model; challenges faced; strategies to address sustainability; and, the future outlook. The report also includes entrepreneurs’ own recommendations and advice to other young people interested in venturing into ICT innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture.

According to Michael Hailu, Director of CTA, “The young innovators featured in this publication are role models who can inspire others and encourage them to innovate for agriculture. Their stories are a testimony of how young people are already contributing to transforming agricultural value chains through their innovations.”

The innovations featured fall into various segments along the agricultural value chain. While the first part of the publication focuses on services helping to improve livestock and crop production (e.g. HelloTractor, Daral Technologies), subsequent parts concentrate on those facilitating access to finance (e.g. Ensibuuko and FarmDrive) and those strengthening trade, markets and consumption (e.g. Foodrings, D'MarketMovers).

As Reem Rahman from Ashoka, one of report writers, observes, "The innovators featured in this report demonstrate the power of opening the door to youth leadership. They confirm that we currently have a powerful generation of changemakers transforming the world -- from agricultural value chains and beyond."

Innovate for Agriculture presents a multi-dimensional picture of the evolving field of ICT entrepreneurship in agriculture in developing countries. It describes challenges but also successes already achieved. It is hoped that this publication will serve as a key reference for young people and stakeholders seeking to invest in agriculture and ICTs in the ACP region.

The report is produced as part of CTA’s Agriculture, Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society (ARDYIS) project, which supports youth innovations and entrepreneurship in ICTs and agriculture. Most innovators included in the publication have benefited from CTA support and participated in its activities.

Resources

Infographie Innovate for agriculture