The Pitch AgriHack Results from the 2023 competition have been released, capping a motivational journey honoring Africa’s most promising agritech visionaries. Six winners were announced at the Youth Innovation Awards on the final day of the Africa Food Systems Forum held at the Julius Nyerere ICC in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, after applicants from 39 African countries underwent a rigorous selection procedure. The Pitch AgriHack subject this year, “Unleash your Innovation,” struck a chord with the businesspeople who showed how technology can be used to promote sustainability, boost production, and better communities.
Make a pitch for AgriHack at apo-opa.info/3Zaz0kE.The African Food Systems Forum (AGRF), Heifer International, and Generation Africa collaborated to put on 2023. Participants and sponsors saw a remarkable display of innovation this year. The contest demonstrated the effectiveness of technologically driven solutions in solving urgent problems throughout the agricultural value chain. The competition honored and praised the genius of young minds who are altering the future of African agriculture by awarding a total prize fund of USD 45,000.
“This competition acts as a dynamic exhibition of innovative and sustainable techniques that will shape African agriculture. Beyond honoring creative concepts, Pitch AgriHack highlights the youth’s unwavering dedication to revolutionizing the industry. According to Adesuwa Ifedi, senior vice president for Africa Programs at Heifer International, “technology plays a critical role in encouraging prosperity for smallholder farmers and rural communities. The agritech solutions presented not only address issues within the agricultural value chain but also support environmental preservation, resource efficiency, and long-term viability. “We are deeply committed to investing in and enabling young people to create solutions that enhance the yields of smallholder farmers,” the statement reads.
The accomplishments at Pitch AgriHack 2023 clearly showcase entrepreneurial brilliance in agriculture, according to Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA and a former special representative to the UN Food Systems Summit. Through their innovation and commitment, these young pioneers are not only influencing the direction of the industry, but they are also encouraging future leaders to think seriously about careers in agriculture and agribusiness. The innovations presented show how young people may inspire workable, long-lasting solutions, laying the foundation for a resilient and successful future.
The 2023 Pitch AgriHack finalists created cutting-edge solutions that cover a broad spectrum. These young businesspeople are attracted to projects that benefit nature, such as those that convert garbage into cooking gas and energy and ultra-fast composting with integrated nutritional analysers. The judges were especially delighted by the low-cost measurement tools that assess crop and soil health and offer recommendations that give farmers more authority. Several automated farming assistants integrated artificial intelligence. Utilizing vast data sets, they detect diseases, enhance production, and produce suggestions for better farming methods.
Additionally, the businesses offered smallholders commodity-backed, post-harvest handling and storage options as well as innovative inclusive finance alternatives for women farmers.
Africa’s young innovators are driven to create a better food system with automated farm management and monitoring systems and behavior modification solutions that reward farmers for adopting better practices.
According to Dickson Naftali, head of Generation Africa, “the multifaceted technologies, environmentally conscious approaches, and comprehensive business models we saw here today indicate that our youth entrepreneurs are building more resilient businesses with more comprehensive offerings that in turn help their farmers become more resilient, too.” This kind of transition is precisely what the African food system needs to undergo a large-scale, responsible transformation. Pitch AgriHack encourages networking, collaboration, and interaction amongst these innovative young people, mentors, investors, and sector experts in addition to celebrating such innovation. It develops a favorable ecosystem that encourages their development. We look forward to seeing how they make use of this chance.
The Pitch AgriHack 2023 Winners are:
Winner: Watson Matsa, Co-Founder and CEO of eSusFarm Africa, South Africa
eSusFarm connects with rural farmers via feature-phone USSD, allowing them access to value-chain services, markets, and credit providers. Their system helps small farmers build their track record by collecting farm production data, and monitoring produce quality. Connect with Watson’s venture at www.eSusFarm.Africa.
Runner-up: El Mahdi Aboulmanadel, Founder and CEO of DeepLeaf, Morocco
DeepLeaf is an agricultural deep learning lab that is focused on leveraging the latest in AI technology to revolutionize the way we grow crops. Their intelligent farming chatbot, Morshida, uses deep learning to analyse plant images and assist farmers in disease analysis. With natural language processing, Morshida can communicate in 14 different languages and dialects. Connect with El Mahdi’s venture at https://DeepLeaf.io.
Mature and Growth-Stage Winners:
- Winner: Tunde Adeyemi, Founder and CEO of D-Olivette, Nigeria
- Runner-up: Reem Nafea, Co-Founder and Business Development Director of BioMasr, Egypt
Women-led Agribusiness Winners:
- Winner: Priscilla Wakarera, Co-Founder and CEO of Rhea, Kenya
- Runner-up: Solape Akinpelu, Co-Founder and CEO of HerVest, Nigeria
The winners were selected by an esteemed panel of judges that included experts and leaders in agriculture and technology. Pitch AgriHack contestants were honoured to get invaluable advice and guidance from this highly-respected judges group consisting of:
- Barbra Sehlule Muzata, Communications Lead – CGIAR
- Dr. Nalishebo Meebelo, Executive Director – Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI)
- Nono Sekhoto, Sector Lead – AL for Agribusiness Network – African Leadership Academy
- Victor Mugo, Head of Local Youth Action – World Food Forum
- Sheila Kaaya, Lead – Agriculture, Agribusiness and Agrifood systems – The Mastercard Foundation
- Jane Lowicki-Zucca, Senior Youth Advisor – USAID
- Patrick Heffer, Deputy Director General – International Fertilizer Association
- Jehiel Oliver, Founder & CEO – Hello Tractor
- Dr. Charles Iyangbe, Signature Program Director – Africa Programs – Heifer International
The applicant breakdown for Pitch AgriHack this year reflects the youthful vigor of Africa. Early-stage firms made up 79.3% of the competition, reflecting its innovative pulse. Mature/growth-stage agritech firms made up 20.5% of the total, demonstrating the sector’s expansion.
The innovations presented at Pitch AgriHack 2023 are a powerful testament to the dedication of AGRF, Heifer International, and Generation Africa to fostering innovation, generating employment opportunities, and improving food security throughout the continent. The partners hope that a new generation of agritech entrepreneurs will be inspired by this exciting competition and transform the agricultural industry while also empowering smallholder farmers to face obstacles and embrace long-lasting change. Visit the Generation Africa website at https://GenAfrica.org for further details and updates.