New funding for agritech innovators seeks to boost farmer productivity

The 2023 AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya will see young Kenyan agritech innovators benefit from up to Sh2million cash grant to scale up their agricultural technology solutions. [File,Standard]

Young entrepreneurs in Kenya will benefit from the opportunity to pitch investment ideas in agritech solutions to boost income and productivity of smallholder farmers.

The Heifer International Kenya initiative, dubbed, 2023 AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya, seeks to allow participants secure funding and visibility to scale up their agricultural technology solutions.

The challenge will award up to Sh2million cash grants for top winners with rewards for promising young agritech innovators embracing technology to reimagine farming and food production across Africa.

"AYuTe is our vehicle to reward and drive innovation in the agriculture sector not just in Kenya but in other African countries where we are working with smallholder farmers," said Heifer International Kenya Country Director, Esta Kamau.

Through the E4Impact Accelerator, top 24 innovators will undergo a 2-month incubation program among other benefits such as linkage to investment, networking, training, coaching, and mentorship opportunities.

"We are partnering with these actors because we strongly believe that at the heart of agriculture, transformation is constant innovation," said Kamau.

"Today we have opened the call for applications for the 2023 AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya, and we want to encourage young agri-tech innovators in Kenya with early-stage start-ups that have developed tech solutions that address challenges facing smallholder farmers to apply" she added.

Heifer International Kenya hopes to translate the energy and ideas of young Kenyan agri-tech innovators into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers across the country through the competition and to assist the winners in growing their businesses.

Heifer International Senior Vice President of Africa Programs, Adesuwa Ifedi called on Africa's tech-savvy youth to use their innovation skills to transform the agricultural sector to their advantage.

"There is huge potential for economic growth and employment in agriculture across Africa, but new ideas and technologies are urgently needed. It's time for Africa's tech-savvy youth to use their innovation skills to transform the sector,"

Ifedi said.

She said funding, training and access to agricultural technology remain three key areas that the youth can be supported to encourage them embrace agriculture as a desirable career.

Interested participants have until March 21, 2023 to tender their applications

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