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Youth e-agriculture entrepreneurship

ICT Update is a bimonthly printed bulletin with an accompanying web magazine (http://ictupdate.cta.int) and e-mail newsletter.

Editorial manager: Chris Addison
Editorial coordinator: Ken Lohento
Reviewer: Isaura Lopes Ramos
Editor: Evert-jan Quak 
Layout: Flame Design
Translation: cApStAn
Cover photo: Team AgriDirect from Trinidad and Tobago during AgriHack Caribbean
(photo credit: CTA)
Publisher: Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), Wageningen, The Netherlands

With thanks to FAO for distributing ICT Update through e-Agriculture 

Copyright: © 2016 CTA, Wageningen, the Netherlands

In this issue

Home-grown ICT solutions in agriculture come from young entrepreneurs

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Young innovators in Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific region, have recognised the need for creative solutions to raise agricultural productivity and the huge prospective market for their ICT-enabled services in agriculture. Although they still face many challenges, their products have the potential to transform agricultural value chains in developing countries.

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Social entrepreneurs in Africa have developed innovative ICT-enabled models for agriculture with the aim of combining profit with inclusive rural development. Their main challenges are scaling-up and earning an income while serving the poorest rural communities.

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Seventeen years old Nicholai Rajkumar is a student of St. George’s College in Trinidad and Tobago. He is pursuing studies toward a career in IT. Nicholai at age 15, completed a Microsoft course in App Development, which aided his participation in the Caribbean AgriHack Talent Competition in 2014.

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New technologies enable farmers to stay in the comfort of their farms and arrange for their produce to be sold to buyers’ miles apart through an online market place. However, entrepreneurship in e-agriculture in Africa comes with many challenges.

Countries could see economic growth in e-agriculture when the private and public sectors are aligned to create a climate that fosters innovation. Some lessons can be learned from the Caribbean and Latin America on creating a healthy ecosystem for ICT start-ups in agriculture.

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Technology hubs give young innovators and entrepreneurs the unique opportunity to develop their products and services and to make them marketable. The lack of awareness about the opportunities that e-agriculture has to offer, is one of the main obstacles to succeed.

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French mobile phone provider Orange has developed several support programmes for ICT start-ups in Africa and the Middle East. By providing the right, tailor made support facilities it aims to enable a home-grown e-agriculture sustainable growth model for innovative, young entrepreneurs.

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Ignitia has developed a disruptive technology that allows smallholder farmers in West Africa to access accurate weather predictions. Engaging with local partners and initiating reliable impact measurements were key factors to gain trust and scale-up the business.  

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The IITA Youth Agripreneurs’ (IYA) ICT unit has established its own businesses by making use of ICT tools, like drones. The members also give ICT trainings with the aim to enhance agriculture and sensitise rural entrepreneurs

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The Mulika Pesa app helps farmers to record all kind of their data, such as stocking and transactions. Robert Gichuru is the founder of the app. He explains how difficult it is to operationalise an ICT business.

Even without smartphones, internet or electricity, rural Malawians are gaining access to video material through young entrepreneurs called DJs who work mainly from barber shops.

As the digital age advances further rapidly, more and more e-agriculture entrepreneurs are able to launch a start-up cheaper and faster than ever before by leveraging technology, access to wider range of skills, grants, competition money, crowdfunding, and accelerator and incubator programmes. e-Agriculture entrepreneurs can choose to take a traditional approach to developing a business plan or they can examine new approaches, such as the Lean Start-up Canvas and the Business Model Canvas.

Young innovators in Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific region, have recognised the need for creative solutions to raise agricultural productivity and the huge prospective market for their ICT-enabled services in agriculture. Although they still face many challenges, their products have the potential to transform agricultural value chains in developing countries. Young innovators often have a limited understanding of the agriculture sector, specifically the functioning of value chains and the diversity of stakeholders.

Past issues

Spore N. 91

Next-generation ACP agriculture - innovations that work

Spore N. 90

Women and Digitalisation in Agriculture

Spore N. 89

Data4Ag: New opportunities for organised smallholder farmers

Spore N. 88

Unlocking the potential of blockchain for agriculture

View all