Kenya’s Agricultural Technology Enterprise, Agrotech, has been awarded Sh1 million or US$10,000 by the World Bank for offering financial inclusion services to smallholder farmers.
Global Index Insurance Facility, a World Bank Group program, announced Agrotech+ as second runners up in the Africa AgTech and Inclusive Insurance Challenge.
Agrotech runs a digital platform, LendIt, that enables smallholder farmers access digital services such as mobile money payments for commodities sold, micro-lending, input financing, crop insurance, and pension scheme for the informal sector.
The competition for technology-led enterprises in Africa to offer innovative solutions for agriculture and inclusive insurance saw Omishtu-Joy from Ethiopia emerge the best. The second place went to Rural Farmers Hub from Nigeria as Agrotech+ from Kenya took third position.
“The role of technology and innovation will be critical to driving growth in underpenetrated financial and insurance sectors across Africa, where a young and growing pool of tech talent and a dramatic increase in digital connectivity will directly boost Africa’s economic value,” said James Smouse, Global Head of Insurance in IFC’s Financial Institutions Group.
“We are very excited to support Africa’s young entrepreneurs through the Africa AgTech & Inclusive Insurance Challenge.”
“This was a great opportunity for start-ups in this space to collaborate with the International Finance Corporation and its partners and bring to the fore game-changing ideas that will contribute to the transformation of Africa’s agricultural sector,” said Fatou Assah, GIIF Program Manager.
Omishtu-Joy is an agritech startup that develops hardware that measures soil PH, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) (NPK), moisture, humidity, and temperature level, supported by an AI system that matches crops to farmlands. The company will obtain financial support worth US$25,000.
Further, Rural Farmers Hub from Nigeria, which collects and analyzes primary and secondary data from farmer groups and uses that data in e-extension and consulting services for smallholder farmers, showing how data can impact the agriculture sector significantly, will obtain financial support of US$ 15,000.
Overall, the challenge received 208 applications from 23 countries across Africa.
The innovations included crop and livestock insurance products, innovative credit scoring technologies, crop, and water stress detection technologies, to name a few.
Arielle Molino, Vice President of Intellecap Africa and Lead Sankalp Africa said the challenge will help start-ups solve a real-time problem, the underlying impact of which is significant.
“We are excited to work with IFC and all the start-ups joining us in this journey to help identify innovative ideas that will benefit smallholder farmers across Africa.”
Powered by Sankalp Forum, the Africa AgTech and Inclusive Insurance Challenge aimed to celebrate and support young entrepreneurs who are working at the intersection of agriculture, insurance, climate, and gender to build resilience for rural populations.