The African agri-tech sector booming  

08 June 20183 min reading
  According to the Agrinnovating for Africa Report 2018, with the number of startups operating in the market growing 110 per cent over the past two years, and over US$19 million invested into the agri-tech sector in that periodfc41565c80923815f6c47ee9e794a596c65fd9e_jpg_autocropped. Investments in agriculture technology in Africa have seen $19-million invested in the past two years. Agri-tech startups have grown 110% in the period. There are 82 agri-tech startups operating across the continent at the start of this year, 52% of which started in the last 24 months, according to the Agrinnovating for Africa: Exploring the African Agri-Tech Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 report by Disrupt Africa. Kenya and Nigeria both lead the agri-tech markets, followed by Ghana. These three countries alone account for more than 60 percent of the active agritech startups in Africa. Although the report tracks annual startup activity in the agri-tech space since 2010, the authors say it began to boom in 2016, after which 43 new ventures were launched. “The research shows that while Kenya was the early pioneer of the African agri-tech sector, accelerating interest in West Africa over the past two years means this region now dominates the market; and is home to two of the top three agri-tech ecosystems on the continent,” Disrupt Africa co-founder Tom Jackson said in a statement. ““Everyone knows how important the agricultural sector is across Africa, but until very recently it remained relatively untouched by tech innovators. That is suddenly changing as entrepreneurs and investors realize the scale of the challenges facing farmers, and spot opportunities to reach huge addressable markets.” Fundraising grew 121% from 2016 to in 2017 alone. “The scope for innovation in the agricultural sphere is vast - a refreshed take on the sector could unlock huge value for the whole of Africa,” says Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Nairobi-based Disrupt Africa. “Behind the scenes, there has been formidable acceleration in the agri-tech market recently, and it is one of the most interesting spaces to watch in Africa today.” The report shows how the continent’s entrepreneurs are already disrupting the agricultural industry, she adds, especially in using e-commerce agri-focused platforms accounting for 32.9% of startups. Information and knowledge sharing platforms are also popular; while a substantial number of entrepreneurs are focused on delivering fintech solutions for farmers. Africa can be the breadbasket of the world, with the abundance of arable land and a youthful workforce emerging across the continent, and perhaps the innovative agritech startups, with their impressive platforms and solutions, will unlock Africa’s agricultural potential at a time when food security is a major concern globally.  
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