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Kenyan agri-tech firms raise Sh1.3b foreign investment

By Frankline Sunday | Published Sun, May 13th 2018 at 00:00, Updated May 12th 2018 at 18:52 GMT +3
Hands holding tomato harvest.

Kenyan start-ups in agriculture sector attracted Sh1.3 billion in Foreign Direct Investment in the last two years, indicating investors’ appetite for the key sector.

A recent study on African start-ups working in the agricultural sector found out that Kenya dominates the continental scene in attracting Foreign Direct Investment and leads in talent expertise and product development.

“The African agri-tech space is booming, with the number of startups operating in the market growing 110 per cent over the past two years, and over $19 million (Sh1.9 billion) invested into the sector in that period,” read the report from Disrupt Africa.

The report tracked annual start-up activity in the agri-tech space over the past few years and found 82 agri-tech enterprises in operation across Africa by the beginning of 2018.

More than half of the companies were launched in the last two years, indicating the sector is still in the nascent stage.

Kenya is in the leading position together with Nigeria and accounts for 23.2 per cent of all African agri-tech startups (19 companies) in the list, with Ghana ranking third.

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“The scope for innovation in the agricultural sphere is vast - a refreshed take could unlock huge value for the whole of Africa,” said Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Disrupt Africa.

“Kenyan agri-tech startups have raised over $13.7 million (Sh1.3 billion) between 2015-2017 with e-commerce (agriculture-focused) start-ups the most popular sub-sector in the country, accounting for 36.8 per cent of the startups,” she said.

Other areas that investors showed interest in were information and knowledge-sharing platforms, farm and supply chain management solutions.

“Until very recently the agricultural sector remained relatively untouched by tech innovators and this is suddenly changing as entrepreneurs and investors realise the scale of the challenges facing farmers, and spot opportunities,” said Tom Jackson, Disrupt Africa co-founder.  


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