Israel has always been referred to by many as a Startup Nation due to its high rate of innovation which has led to the establishment of many startups. The country has been an ideal destination for many people and organizations around the world that have an interest in innovation. This week four members of an organization funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation visited the country. The four Africans aimed at seeing how farmers can benefit from agricultural technology developed from Israel. With the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), President Agnes Kalibata as their leader, the team was hosted by Start-Up Nation Central a non-profit organization.
Moreover, they met and held discussions with representatives from the country’s tech sector and officials from the government. According to Kalibata, the main objective was to take note of locally developed agricultural technology that helps fight the challenges African farmers are going through. Founded in 2006, AGRA aims to minimize hunger and poverty in Africa by channeling many resources in agriculture. The African population is made up of 70% of the small-scale farmers, and this is the group which the organization works with across the continent to increase their incomes by increasing their farm productivity. A large volume of African food is produced by this group of people who undergo many challenges before harvesting. Some of the challenges are unreliable water supply, low quality of seed and barren soil.
AGRA has always received support from the UK, German and Canadian governments, The Rockefeller Foundation and the World Food Program. The has supported over 400 projects up to now which includes enterprises to produce and deliver seeds, improve soil fertility, increase farm yields, expand credit access, upgrade storage facilities and improve the system of market information. Besides identifying technologies which can be implemented in Israel, AGRA also wants to identify people who will be able to foresee challenges and come up with products that work on the identified challenges. According to Kalibata, the organization is looking forward to supporting products which work for farmers and have a chance of scaling up. Startups that will be lucky enough to be shortlisted will receive funding from the organization to help them in adapting their products for African needs.
According to her, startups must be able to convince AGRA that they are sustainable, their technologies have the potential to disrupt issues, and they can attract different sources of funding. The success of the startups will be measured by how far they have rolled their technologies and the number of lives they have changed.
The organization will also examine the set objectives that the startup has set out to attain. This was the first time Kalibata visited Israel, and with her group, they were ready to learn how startup innovation in Israel can be used in Africa. She said that the Israelite entrepreneurs who hope to put up their technologies in Africa would have to attend the African Green Revolution Forum, to pitch their technologies and learn more about the local needs. African Green Revolution Forum is an agricultural summit that will take place in September in Kigali, Rwanda and it will be attended by 2,000 farmers and officials from the government. Start-Up Nation Central’s strategic partnerships manager, Shira Goldblum said that AGRA has the go-ahead to transform the agricultural sector in Africa.