ThriveAgric Emerges Regional Winners of AYuTe Africa Challenge With N1 million
Leading agricultural technology startup ThriveAgric just won the biennial AYuTe Africa Challenge in West Africa, earning a $1 million grant prize. The Agriculture Youth Technology (AYuTe) Challenge was established by Heifer International to assist young entrepreneurs striving to increase food security on the continent by creating and implementing cost-effective digital solutions that have an impact on smallholder farmers.
As the overall winner and Visa Direct winner of the global Visa Everywhere Initiative 2022 last December, ThriveAgric has now received two awards in the past three months. Over 4000 startup founders from North America, Latin America, Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Europe, and Asia Pacific participated in the grueling 12-month competition, which was live streamed on TechCrunch. Through the use of technology, ThriveAgric has established a network of over 500,000 smallholder farmers over the course of six years. By providing them with access to information, distribution, and more than $150 million in credit, ThriveAgric has helped these farmers improve their lives and produce more than 5% of the grains that are consumed in Nigeria.
Uka Eje, CEO and Co-Founder of ThriveAgric, commented on the accomplishments, saying, These endorsements are an encouraging affirmation of the hard work we have put in over the years and indicators that we are on the right path. In order to build the greatest network of successful farmers in Africa, we are driven by a strong desire to have a greater influence among smallholder farmers in Africa as well as to grow into other regions. We are still committed to reaching one million farmers in Nigeria alone this year.
One of the most ambitious agricultural challenges on the continent, the AYuTe Africa Challenge aims to empower smallholder farmers across Africa in growing their businesses and incomes by fusing the youth strength of Africa with the numerous opportunities offered by emerging technologies. In addition to providing cash awards, it also assigns a group of knowledgeable advisors and successful industry veterans to assist AYuTe Africa Champions in converting this financing into business expansion plans.
Africa’s agricultural industry has a significant social and economic impact. In sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 60% of the population is a farmer, agriculture accounts for around 23% of GDP, according to McKinsey. Smallholder farmers are facing new levels of economic and ecological challenges in farming as a result of rising demand and a lack of supply. Months of intense floods in Nigeria last year destroyed almost 400,000 hectares of crops, causing the country’s food inflation to reach an all-time high of 21%. Over 3.5 million people in Kenya, East Africa, experienced extreme food insecurity as a result of a protracted and severe drought that severely hindered farmers’ capacity to grow crops or rear cattle. This situation resulted in famine and malnutrition.
Making sure that there are infrastructure buffers in place to protect against harsh conditions that could endanger smallholders’ livelihoods or a country’s food security is part of ThriveAgric’s mission. In order to reach 10 million farmers by 2027, ThriveAgric is hoping to grow to the East of the continent as well as further its roots in West Africa after seeing remarkable success there.