The Salon International de l’Agriculture et des Ressources Animales (SARA) – the international exhibition of agriculture and animal resources – is one of the biggest agricultural events in West Africa. The most recent exhibition, held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 22 November to 1 December 2019, ran under the theme "Smart agriculture and technological innovation: What prospects for African agriculture?" At the event, CTA awarded two digital solutions in the first-ever Agreen Start-up competition.
Agreen Start-up aims to highlight innovative digital solutions for agriculture from youth start-ups and was organised by the Ivorian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency, AFD), Digital Africa, the French Chambers of Agriculture, the Fonds Pierre Castel and other players in the world of entrepreneurship and agriculture. CTA partnered the initiative as part of the activities of the Pitch AgriHack project, which has similar goals.
The competition was open to young entrepreneurs aged between 21 and 40 years old. Nineteen start-ups were selected to take part in the final stage of the competition. They were then assisted by experts in entrepreneurship, business development and ICTs for agriculture in order to better structure their ideas and prepare a presentation of their innovations for a jury.
On 26 November, the start-ups presented their digital solutions to the jury which was made up of figures such as Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani, the Ivorian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, the French Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs. The fledgling entrepreneurs were assessed on the basis of the issue and opportunities identified, the innovation proposed, the implementation, and on the short-term needs of the start-up. Six innovations were awarded.
The CTA-awarded digital solutions, A trê marché and the RECA application, will receive training materials on business models in digital agriculture, and will be included in the network of AgriHack finalists, as well as other benefits depending on their performance.
- Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani award (CFA 2,000,000) – Agritech is a system of sensors used to detect plant fertilisation needs and provide growers with the right advice at the right time. The innovation can also be used to remotely programme irrigation from a mobile phone.
- AFD award (CFA 1,310,000) – The Agri banana project produces biodegradable bags from the trunks of banana trees. Agri banana will collect, transport, extract and process the materials and produce the bags.
- CENAP award (CFA 655,000) – Pep Ivoire focuses on the production and sale of exotic fruits, particularly strawberries. Production is carried out via eco-nurseries that cover all stages of the production process from compost production, seeds and nursery development, through to transplanting, harvesting and sale.
- Award from Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Ivorian Prime Minister (CFA 3,000,000) – Biosave is a multi-dialect application enabling farmers to produce their own organic fertiliser according to the specifics of their soil. Three services are offered: organic waste collection, fertiliser production and provision of organic insecticides.
- CTA (€3,000) and Smile (CFA 650,000) award – A trê marché is an agricultural produce sales and delivery service designed for restaurants, households and retailers.
- CTA (€2,000) and Fonds Pierre Castel (€1,000) award – RECA developed a mobile application that provides remote agricultural advice in the form of data sheets, oral/radio information, and provides a direct line between smallholders and the RECA call centre. The application enables access to useful and insightful information on problems encountered by other advisers or producers, and on how to resolve them.
All participants in the competition will be put forward for the Challenge of 1,000 which will be held at the 2020 Africa-France Summit in Bordeaux, France, on 4-6 June 2020.