Code Cash Crop has held its third Agritech summit, which seeks to integrate the huge number of technology providers offering services to smallholder farmers in Africa’s food value chain with institutions leveraging finance to unlock investment opportunities in the sector.
This year’s event, with the theme, “Disrupting Agriculture Trade Infrastructure”, brought together next-generation innovators, business professionals, entrepreneurs, agric specialists, investors, development partners and policymakers in the three sectors to identify innovative and viable solutions to Africa’s trade infrastructure in a series of panel discussions, mentorship sessions, pitch storms and network meetings.
Most importantly, the occasion provided young Nigerians from the fields of agriculture, technology a veritable platform to pitch unique business solutions that address the continent’s trade infrastructure, while standing the chance to win a N5 million prize among other career-boosting opportunities.
The finalists were charged to change the agricultural commodities landscape with AgFinTech solutions that could disrupt and tackle challenges in the sector.
Delivering the keynote address on the topic, “Coding Solutions for Transforming Agriculture Trade Infrastructure”, Country Manager, Microsoft (Nigeria & Ghana), Olatomiwa Williams, stated: “Africa is poised to becoming the global entre in agric-tech solutions in the not-too-distant future.”
According to her, “we need to focus on accelerating growth in the agriculture sector. Innovating in areas where agriculture faces challenges will help farmers scale their businesses. Therefore, it’s essential to simplify technology for smallholder farmers.”
Speaking at the panel discussion on “The Present and Future of Agriculture Commodity Trade in Africa”, CEO of Graeme Blaque Group, Zeal Akarikwe, expanded the conversation on importance of financing, stating that credit risks from farmers are the hardest to mitigate, but when the risks are identified and resolved, then access to finance is made more readily available for smallholder farmers.
In the same vein, Startup Lead, Microsoft West Africa, Edubasi Chukunweike, while handling the topic, ‘Financing the Emergence of Efficient Agriculture Marketplaces for Africa’, said: “ When we can solve the problem of the marketplaces and how to increase farmers’ yield using data, then we can boast about Africa feeding itself.”
Founder, KIT for Professionals, Sikemi Tayo, submitted: “It’s important to have conversations on how to use technology to standardise trade in the commodities market.”
The winner, Prince Achoja, presented his solution called Ma’aji-Noma, aimed at helping farmers in remote communities access financial services such as payments, savings and loans through a mobile app. The solution also gives the farmers access to agricultural information.
The organisers noted: “Code Cash Crop drives home the urgent call that we need all hands on deck to have shared prosperity in the agriculture value chain. It is cogent to drive awareness of food security beyond finance, technology and agriculture. It needs collaborations from other industries and sectors.
In the earlier two editions, the Code Cash Crop advocated for agritech solutions that boost the competitiveness and inclusiveness of the agribusiness sector. It significantly expanded conversations on payment solutions for rural agrarian communities, leading to some conceptualisation of solutions that will enable more people in our rural communities to get financially included, and this has further necessitated the need to rethink how to embrace technologies to improve Africa’s trade infrastructure.”