September 9, 2023, witnessed a groundbreaking event in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as two trailblazing agripreneurs emerged victorious in the esteemed GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition Finals, hosted at the Africa Food Systems Forum Summit 2023. The Youth Town Hall, presided over by Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan, was a shining beacon highlighting Africa’s commitment to agricultural transformation through youthful innovation.
Trailblazing Leaders of the New Agricultural Age
Hasina Andriatsitohaina, the leading force behind Mad’Arom in Madagascar, clinched the grand prize in the female-led category. A well-respected food technology specialist and a beacon of change, Hasina’s Mad’Arom has made monumental strides in uplifting the spice and aroma sectors of Madagascar. The company’s commitment to the agroforestry system serves as a two-pronged approach: preserving Madagascar’s diverse ecosystems and offering consistent income to small-scale producers. Furthermore, their post-harvest processing initiatives have paved the way for employment opportunities for the youth and women, fortifying the rural economies against climate-induced challenges like cyclones.
On the male forefront, Ikenna Nzewi, the brain behind Releaf Africa in Nigeria, showcased a confluence of technology and agriculture. Having returned from the USA, Nzewi’s approach to transforming Nigeria’s agrifood system is nothing short of revolutionary. By leveraging geospatial software, Releaf Africa pinpoints viable farms and uses a mobile platform to procure oil palm fruit, ensuring farmers are integrated into a more digitized, efficient ecosystem. Their invention, “Kraken”, the world’s advanced palm nut de-sheller, echoes their commitment to sustainability and eco-friendliness.
Pioneering Impact and Innovation
In addition to the grand prize winners, the GoGettaz Impact Awards celebrated four individuals whose innovations are transforming the agrifood sector in their respective countries:
- Pelkins Ajanoh – Through his venture, CassVita in Cameroon, Ajanoh has introduced a proprietary microbial process, extending cassava’s shelf-life from mere days to over a year, reshaping food preservation methodologies.
- Margaret Wanjiku – As the founder of Pollen Patrollers in Kenya, Wanjiku’s IoT device offers AI-driven insights into beehive metrics, paving the way for precision pollination.
- Martin Dainbaquee – Hailing from Sierra Leone, Dainbaquee’s Eco-friendly Incubator Company addresses multiple facets of the poultry industry, from innovative solar-powered incubators to addressing foreign import dependencies.
- Crescentia Mushobozi – Representing the youth’s zest for innovation, Mushobozi’s VIABLE from Tanzania has ushered in a superior potato strain, targeting malnutrition while engaging the youth in redefining agrarian practices.
A Resounding Call for Collaborative Growth
With delegates like Strive Masiyiwa and Amath Pathe Sene echoing the significance of youthful energy in reshaping Africa’s food systems, the message was clear: Africa’s youth isn’t just the future; they’re the present catalysts for change.
The GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition showcased the very best of young entrepreneurial spirit across Africa. With participants from 43 African countries and a rising tide of female applicants, the narrative is shifting. African agriculture isn’t just in the hands of seasoned farmers; it’s being sculpted by young, visionary agripreneurs committed to innovation, sustainability, and systemic transformation.
As the curtains closed on the 2023 Africa Food Systems Summit, the momentum generated by these young entrepreneurs carries forward. Mentorship programs, policy reforms, and digital academies like the one launched in partnership with Microsoft are on the horizon, promising a brighter, more inclusive future for Africa’s agrifood sector.
In a continent where agriculture forms the backbone of economies and livelihoods, the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition and the Africa Food Systems Forum Summit 2023 stand as powerful reminders: Africa’s agrarian renaissance is youth-driven, technology-oriented, and unwaveringly resilient.