Naftali Mwaura NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Fourteen Kenyan start-ups on Saturday
won a 100 million Kenya shillings (about 1 million
U.S. dollars) grant administered through a World
Bank-Republic of Korea Partnership Facility to help
transform small-holder farming through technologies
The winning start-ups who
were announced at the end of a two-day Disruptive
Agricultural Technology conference in Nairobi will
be required to use the funds to expand outreach to
smallholders and help them address endemic
challenges like low productivity, limited access to
credit and market volatility.
"We expect the innovators to come up with
disruptive technologies that can be adopted by
small-holder farmers to boost productivity,
financial inclusion, access to data on agronomy and
market linkages," said Hamadi Boga, principal
secretary in state department of agricultural
Kenya hosted a two-day disruptive agricultural
technology conference and innovation challenge that
was sponsored by the World Bank and a consortium of
bilateral donors and international research bodies.
The high level forum culminated in the award of
grants to local start-ups whose cutting edge
innovations demonstrated ability to deploy farmer
friendly technologies that can boost yield and
streamline key value chains.
Parmesh Shah, World Bank’s lead rural development
specialist for the African region, said that juries
selected the 14 winners after they proved the
scalability and commercial viability of their
"The pitching was excellent and we looked at the
vibrancy of the innovation ecosystem, impact to
farmers and whether the business model was both
viable and disruptive," said Shah.
"We also looked at the scalability of the product
itself, its uniqueness and networking capacity of
the innovators," he added.
Shah said that winners of the World Bank-Republic
of Korea innovation grants will benefit from
training and mentorship to boost their capacity to
deploy disruptive technologies to small-holder
"There will be boot camps for these innovators to
help them acquire skills needed to scale their
operations and create impact," said Shah, adding
that the World Bank is keen to partner with key
stakeholders and establish Africa’s largest agri-tech
hub in Kenya.
World Bank to
aid technology-led transformation of Kenya’s
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The World Bank has partnered with
Kenya’s ministry of agriculture to facilitate
deployment of digital platforms that can be
harnessed by small-holder farmers to boost crop
yield, officials said on Friday.
Dina Umali-Deininger, World Bank’s agriculture
global practice manager for central, eastern and
southern African region said availing technologies
and innovations to Kenyan smallholders will help
them tackle bottlenecks that undermine productivity.
"We hope that technologies like mobile phones
will help farmers’ access inputs like seeds and
fertilizers, markets and knowledge on how they can
improve their yield," said Umali-Deininger.
She spoke on the sidelines of the Disruptive
Agricultural Technology conference underway in
Nairobi that is sponsored by the World Bank and a
consortium of global research entities.
The two-day conference that will culminate in
award of seed capital to Kenyan start-ups that have
revolutionized small-holder farming through
deployment of novel innovations is being attended by
policymakers, innovators and entrepreneurs.
Umali-Deininger revealed that the World Bank in
conjunction with Kenya’s ministries of agriculture
and ICT plan to embed uptake of digital platforms in
the One Million Farmer Initiative that will be
implemented in the next three years across 45
"The digital platforms we are supporting will
provide solutions to one million small holder
farmers in Kenya grappling with challenges around
productivity, post-harvest storage, market access
and financial inclusion," said Umali-Deininger.
She disclosed that ten outstanding agri-tech
entrepreneurs who will receive grants totaling 100
million shillings (about 1 million U.S. dollars)
will be incorporated in two World Bank’s financed
projects to boost small-holders’ productivity in the
East Africa’s largest economy.
"Basically, we are focusing on scaling up access
to disruptive technologies that can make farming
more productive, climate resilient and rewarding to
small-holders," said Umali-Deininger.
Kenya commands the lion share of Africa’s
agritech entrepreneurship space thanks to friendly
regulatory environment, supportive infrastructure
and abundance of tech-savvy youth.
Parmesh Shah, World Bank’s lead rural development
specialist for the African region said the lender
will partner with the government and investors to
create a robust agricultural innovations ecosystem
"We are optimistic that a stronger partnership
with the government and private sector will boost
deployment of innovations to the doorstep of
smallholder farmers," said Parmesh.
He said that access to disruptive technologies
will boost the capacity of small-holder farmers to
manage water resources, improve soil health and
respond effectively to crop pests and diseases.
revolution to be driven by digital platforms:
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The next phase of agricultural
transformation that is required to boost food
security and rural incomes across Sub-Saharan Africa
will be realized through adoption of new
technologies and innovation, experts said on Friday.
Speaking at the Disruptive Agricultural
Technology conference taking place in the Kenyan
capital, Nairobi, policymakers and experts said that
greater uptake of digital platforms by African
small-holders is key to boosting yields.
"Technology is key to boosting efficiency,
productivity and competitiveness of agriculture in
the African continent," said Hamadi Boga, principal
secretary in Kenya’s ministry of agriculture.
"We should invest in ICT to help serve our
farmers better, ensure they have access to real time
information on farm inputs, weather patterns,
markets and appropriate storage," he added.
Kenya is hosting the two days Digital Agriculture
Technology, Innovation Knowledge and Challenge
Conference that is being attended by policy makers,
scientists, industry executives and founders of agri-based
start-ups to explore novel innovations that can
transform small-holder farming in Africa.
The conference that is sponsored by the World
Bank and a consortium of international research
organizations will culminate in award of seed
capital to outstanding local agri-tech start-ups
that are transforming livelihoods of small-holder
Edson Mpyisi, chief financial economist at
African Development Bank (AfDB), said that
technologies like mobile phone applications, big
data, drones and artificial intelligence if
harnessed tactfully could provide durable solution
to hunger and malnutrion crisis in the continent.
He urged African governments to prioritize
regulatory reforms in order to boost investments in
disruptive technologies required to boost crop yield
and farmer’s income amid climatic shocks, shrinking
arable land and population pressure.
Sriram Bharatam, founder of Nairobi based social
enterprise, Kuza Biashara said that African
countries can leverage on digital revolution to
reorganize agricultural value chains and make them
resilient to extreme weather events and market