Agripreneurship; Innovations and Securing the Future.

In mid-2017, I met a virtual friend in person at a restaurant in Nairobi uptown for a cup of porridge. I saw him on TV and reached out to him for a hook up. He agreed to meet me on condition that our meeting happen on the day he would be available within CBD. I am very patient and so our meeting happened after a couple of days. The day I watched him on TV, he was talking about his company’s collaboration with mSMES and personally, according to my judgment, he showed some bias towards agricultural startups. The very reason I sought him.

Once seated, the day we finally met, he introduced himself in detail. I discovered he was an economist by profession but loved agribusiness a lot. I introduced myself too as a start-up manufacturing entrepreneur with other interests in ICT and agribusiness. Since then a few things have changed but my interest in agribusiness still remains. I learnt the term agripreneurship a little later and fell in love with it. Perhaps I could have introduced myself with just two words. You could have guessed them right I suppose; entrepreneur and agripreneur.

Our conversation with this new friend of mine came to mind a few months ago when I took a very short course on agripreneurship. I forgot it shortly after. It resurfaced last week again as I read through a Facebook post by Strive Masiyiwa about Generation Africa; an initiative meant to support innovations in the field of agriculture to secure the future of the planet. As matter of fact, population growth is quite high today especially in third world countries. Health care on the other hand has improved notably which translates into low mortality rates hence the fast population growth late. This means an insatiable need for food to serve these masses.

Innovations in agriculture is the solution to food security. The whole value chain should be exploited maximally to ensure there is lots of gain with minimum waste. Navigating the value chain is what gives birth to agripreneurs. As every one of them works in making the best of the chain, innovations crop up and certainly it is for the betterment of everyone. Everybody in the whole value chain from the farmer to the consumer benefits in the process.

Food security features in the SDGs and seeks to ensure all people have access to food. This food should be of high quality, safe, enough and available to the people. For this to be attained, every individual in the whole network that spans the production, processing and distribution of the food must ensure these objectives are met. As a fact, opportunities in agriculture lie in the critical analysis of the food value chain.

Value chain is the full range of activities a business employs to bring a product to the market. In our case, it involves the farmers, the suppliers, brokers, manufactures and of course the final customer whom every individual in the chain works to satisfy. Right innovations within the value chain could mean a food secure future.

The first solution we need to find is one that solves our issue of wastage. It is estimated that we lose up to almost a third of all food production globally. This results due to poor food storage, poor food handling and productions that have not taken into account the demand at that time. Most of it is due to lack of data or its use thereof. The last part that talks of data is a huge challenge for sure.

For sustainability purposes, farmers need to know the amounts consumed and should produce according to need especially when all they produce is not on the export list. Data is very important in this case. For instance, how many of us know the tonnes of bananas produced from Meru per each season? How much maize was produced in Trans Nzoia last season? For the techies, there is need to innovate around this area.

These farmers need a proper value chain that ensures no losses of their produce. Technology is the solution here; connecting consumers, farmers and providing consumer trends. Photo Courtesy of FarmAfrica

I need to know as a supplier for example that I can link with a farmer in Kisii who harvested half a ton of Managu today morning for use in my manufacturing business. The problem ideally is that the farmer will stay with the vegetables till the spoil because villagers only bought a hundred kilos of the harvest, just enough according to their usual demand. If all systems were okay, the farmer won’t incur any losses and I could not operate below capacity.

Another solution could be proper processing of the vegetables into a pre-preserved nature which in turn extends their time of use. This is to mean that processing facilities should be set up near the production places to avoid the poor infrastructural losses that arise due to produce transportation. This is to mean that special drones should be developed whose cost of operation and maintenance is low to help with quick transportation of perishable goods like flowers from the farms to the airports or warehouses. The jam issues that delay delivery can be a forgotten issue.

Another way could be to use technology in applying farm inputs precisely according to the need of the crops at that moment. For example, an exact amount as well as concentration of a spray fertilizer should be ‘fed’ to the plant as the plant shall be in need of it. All the systems need to be monitored technically using sensor technology and space mapping. Robotic systems should be there, in handy, to do the necessary like in the controlling of p.H, humidity, temperature and other parameters.

Innovation is necessary in the agricultural value chain for us to talk of a food secure nation or world for that matter. The only way to achieve this is through agripreneurship. The moment to start is now for those enthusiasts like me. It is never late. Just start and with baby steps everything will fall into place. You don’t have to leave your job yet, because you are not going to make it big instantly.

Patience is the key thing here, grit is the secret and never tiring to try out new things is the agent of innovation. Get out of your comfort zone and make this planet food secure.


Copyright @ 2019.

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Politics, Policy, Technology, Current Affairs, Opinion, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Governance, International Emerging Issues, Society, and culture. For featuring, promotions or support write to us at
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