An IUEA Agri-Fintech Triumph: eSusfarm’s AgriHack Victory

IUEA Agri-Fintech initiative, eSusFarm dominates at AgriHack 2023
IUEA congratulates its Agri-Fintech initiative, eSusFarms on AgriHack 2023 victory.

In an astonishing achievement, eSusFarm, a brainchild of the International University of East Africa has emerged as the top contender in the Early-Stage Agritech Business Category at the prestigious Africa Food Systems Forum held in Tanzania. eSusFarm, a groundbreaking Agritech venture, is dedicated to the collection and distribution of vital agricultural statistical data. This victory not only highlights eSusFarm’s expertise but also underscores IUEA’s unwavering commitment to transforming the African agricultural  landscape, empowering local farmers and delivering a world class education service in the field of agriculture.

Proud African farmer meticulously tending to her maize produce

How is eSusFarm shaping the future of Agriculture?

Created by IUEA, eSusfarm is a dynamic Agri-fintech initiative with a mission to bolster smallholder farmers and optimise the entire agricultural value chain. Previously introduced in the first-ever Food and Climate Change Symposium and Expo, this Agri-Fintech venture aims to elevate agricultural productivity, simplify market access for smallholder farmers, provide financial support, and enhance the overall agricultural value chain. But what truly sets eSusFarm apart is its unique ability to seamlessly blend agricultural expertise with financial management capabilities.

At the heart of eSusfarm’s innovation lies an ongoing risk management system, offering a fresh perspective on risk assessment, which proves invaluable to financial institutions. Beyond its pioneering technology, eSusFarm doubles as a networking hub that offers mentorship, training, and opportunities to connect with potential partners and investors.

Mr. Watson Matsa, Representing the eSusFarm at 2023 Pictch AgriHack in Tanzania

This innovative Agri-Fintech initiative leverages its proprietary technology to gather real-time food production data from smallholder and subsistence producers. This precious data is made accessible to agricultural stakeholders, including the National Agricultural Organisation. Moreover, eSusFarm plays a pivotal role in connecting smallholder farmers with markets through its virtual farm, which serves as a collective output pool for farm produce. These outputs are then traded to various economic agents, such as Agggregators and Agro-processors.. 

But what makes eSusFarms stand out from other Agri-Fintech institutions is its unwavering commitment to monitoring the quality of agricultural produce. In a significant step towards financial inclusion, eSusFarm utilises the gathered data to collaborate with financial institutions, enabling the provision of pre-approved credit to smallholder farmers. This empowerment allows them to elevate their agricultural practices and contribute to a sustainable food ecosystem.

Diligent African farmers carefully attending to their produce

Presently, eSusFarm is actively implementing its innovative system in the Kingdom of Eswatini, forging strong partnerships with the government agricultural development agency known as ESWADE and other farmer development enterprises within the nation. Notably, they have successfully onboarded an impressive 10,000 farmers onto their platform.

The eSusFarm platform boasts an extensive user base, with over 100,000 farmers actively utilising the system in Uganda. Accessibility has been significantly enhanced through the introduction of a USSD code, *222#, available on both Airtel and MTN networks.

Recently, eSusFarm achieved a significant milestone by winning a highly coveted award at Pitch Agri-Hack, held in Tanzania. This prestigious competition identifies and amplifies the efforts of young innovators dedicated to bolstering resilience through digital agriculture products and services.

Hardworking African farmer attentively caring for his maize produce

How is Agri-Fintech enriching Agriculture through Financial Empowerment?

In the field of agriculture, quick and accessible financial support holds the key to unlocking substantial improvements. Agriculture, as one of the world’s oldest and most vital sectors, has garnered widespread attention over the years. As a result, innovative solutions have emerged to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness, with Agri-Fintech standing out in particular as a game changer.

Agri-Fintech, a combination of agriculture and financial technology, represents a revolutionary approach to farming and food production. It leverages cutting-edge technology to seamlessly provide financial assistance to farmers and their supporting industries. This innovative concept is poised to usher in a new era of profitability for both the individual farmers and the entire agricultural sector.

The belief in Agri-Fintech’s transformative potential is widespread and well founded. Many stakeholders view it as the catalyst that can substantially boost the profitability of farms and the livelihoods of those engaged in agriculture. As the agricultural landscape continues to evolve, the role of Agri-Fintech becomes increasingly vital in ensuring the sector’s growth and sustainability. 

According to the old farm regulations, Agri-Fintech could be the key to increasing the profitability of farms and farmers. Through intelligent data intervention, market linkages, partnerships, and a physical strategy, lending to farmers, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO) and other value chain actors have been demonstrated to be scalable.

– Said Pothula, Sreekanth Reddy in The Role of Finance in Navigating Agriculture through Agri-FinTech.
Earnest Ugandan farmer promptly planting his produce

How is Pitch AgriHack empowering young innovators to revolutionise Agriculture?

The Pitch Agri-Hack event, jointly organised by the African Food Systems Forum (AGRF), Heifer International, and Generation Africa, showcased a dazzling array of innovative solutions that underscore the transformative potential of technology-driven approaches within the agricultural value chain.

With a prize pool of USD 45,000, this competition celebrated and recognised the brilliance of young minds reshaping the future of the African agricultural sector. Winning contestants like eSusFarm receive not only funding but also ongoing support to scale up their innovations and drive transformative change in the agricultural sector.

The theme for this year’s Pitch Agri-Hack, ‘Unleash your Innovation’ deeply resonated with the entrepreneurial spirit. It highlighted how technology can be leveraged to promote sustainability, improve productivity, and uplift communities.

2023 Pitch AgriHack attendees come together for a photo to commemorate the prestigious competition

How did eSusFarm distinguish itself at Pitch AgriHack 2023?

During a rigorous selection process, applicants from 39 African countries showcased their dedication and ingenuity. Ultimately, six outstanding winners were crowned at the Youth Innovation Awards, held on the final day of The Africa Food Systems Forum at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Notably, eSusFarm’s innovation stood out for its novelty, garnering praise such as the 2020 World Bank Top Innovator Award and an honourable mention for Empowerment. Furthermore, the organisation received the Best Business Model Award in May 2020 from InnMind, one of Europe’s largest VC and start-up ecosystems.

Participation in Pitch AgriHack not only signifies recognition but also connects you to a vibrant community of like minded  entrepreneurs committed to making a meaningful contribution to Africa’s food systems. eSusFarm’s journey is a testament to the transformative potential of innovation, dedication, and technology in shaping a more sustainable and prosperous future for African Agriculture

Does IUEA Offer Agriculture Courses?

The International University of East Africa (IUEA) is on the brink of launching its Agricultural Science Programme, specially designed to provide students with practical insights into farming practices and technology’s role in making agriculture more accessible and cost effective. By introducing this course, IUEA aims to leverage technology to assist Ugandan, and African, farmers and bolster the nation and continent’s vital agricultural infrastructure, thereby contributing to the enhancement of food production globally.

How is IUEA Transforming the Agricultural Landscape?

IUEA’s innovations in the agricultural sector include groundbreaking inventions such as;

  • Mechanised Farm Rover –  A robotic farm worker  
  • Solar-Powered Soil Tester – A solar powered soil analysis tool
  • An Electric Tractor – A sustainable alternative to traditional gas powered tractors

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