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Deals worth Sh3.1Bn expected to be struck at the 6th Edition of Africa Agri Expo on 8th and 9th February 2023

Over 100 investors and potential business leads in the agriculture value chains from 35+ countries, are keen on setting up businesses and distribution set-ups in Kenya.

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 8th 2023 – Agriculture deals worth multi-million dollars will be struck in the next few days as investors throng the Kenyan capital for the 6th edition of Africa Agri Expo (AAE).

TAB Group Chief Executive Officer Tahir Bari said over 100 investors and potential business leads in the agriculture value chains from 35+ countries, are keen on setting up businesses in Kenya and East Africa.

“We have seen a lot of interest from investors in the Agricultural Value chains, some are coming to seek opportunities, others are coming to sign deals after successful discussions with Kenyan companies, a full figure of what will be signed isn’t very clear, but I am sure it will be more than $25 million (Sh3.1 billion),” Bari said during a press conference the opening ceremony in Nairobi.

The agricultural 2-day event – AAE 2023 from 8th February to 9th February at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), is designed to provide solutions to Farmers, Agribusiness professionals, Agronomists, and Government representatives to improve their yields and revenue.

The event themed ‘A Gateway to Agribusiness in Africa‘ will highlight the advancements in technologies for the agriculture value chain, food security, nutrition, crop protection, water management, and ways to mitigate post-harvest losses in Africa through the sustainable use of machines and technology as well as boosting productivity and profitability of farmers.

“The investors come from different parts of the world that include the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the USA with a keen interest in tackling major issues in the supply food chain by introducing new technologies to help the sector grow and become more attractive to the young people,” he added.

The agriculture sector contributes 51 percent of Kenya’s GDP (26 percent directly and 25 percent indirectly) and accounts for 60 percent of employment and 65 percent of exports according to the World Bank.

The sector is dominated by smallholder production on farms of between 0.2 and 3 hectares, which account for 78 percent of total agricultural production and 70 percent of commercial production.

Agricultural GDP is driven by horticulture and cash crops, but productivity is low, particularly for cereals. Given that most of the poor are in the agriculture sector, productivity also matters for poverty reduction.

“We are urging the youth to show up in big numbers and see new ways of farming, with new technologies that will be showcased at the event, We need to change the narrative that agriculture is for the old and the poor, there are many people earning a decent living in agriculture,” said Principal Secretary, Kello Harsama, State Department for Crop Development, Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Development.

On her part, Agriculture Sector Network General Manager, Agatha Thuo noted there is low adoption of technology within the agricultural sector which is affecting productivity at the same time suppressing potential.

“Over 90 percent of the youth are exposed to agricultural technology but only 39 percent of them are using any form of agri-tech. Lack of access to innovation is also a major hindrance to the adoption of agriculture by the youth, we are excited that this expo is happening here in Kenya, opening up opportunities for the youth to take up the challenge,” she noted.

The World Bank projects that agriculture and agribusiness in Africa will grow to be a US$1 trillion industry in Africa by 2030. To promote this outcome, the continent must review its incentive structures.

The region holds about half of the world’s fertile and as-yet-unused land – and yet it spends US$25 billion annually importing food. It also uses only a tiny percentage of its renewable water resources.

 About the Africa Agri Expo 2023

“Africa Agri Expo” or “AAE” is a leading agriculture event in Africa – organized by TAB group, focused on gathering agriculture industry verticals like Agri-Technology, Food Security, Irrigation Solutions, Seeds, Agro Chemicals, Mechanization, Greenhouse, Post-Harvest, Storage and Distribution Solutions, Logistics and Transportation, Poultry, Dairy and Livestock, etc. for developing strategic dialogue and promoting agribusiness – targeting major African countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia and more.

With less than a month remaining, the show has garnered participation from some of the popular brands of the industry like CENSA (a WayCool Enterprise), ESRI, Godrej Agrovet,  OCP Africa, Saudi Drip, Biostadt, Lushbury Fertilizers, CEVA Logistics, etc. and along with stakeholder organizations in Kenya like Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), The Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET), KenInvest, Agrochemicals Associations of Kenya (AAK), IRRI,  International Institute of Tropical Agriculture – CGIAR, FAO, IFAD, etc. who will impart their experience and expertise to make Africa self-sufficient and achieve its SDG 2030 Goals.

Five Kenyan Start-ups Collect kshs 330M at Continent-wide Plastics Innovation Challenge
Chemolex – £750,000,

Mega Gas – £500,000,

Ukwenza VR £250,000

Baus Taka Enterprise £250,000 (woman-led)

EcoCoCo Homecare £250,000 (woman-led)

17 March Nairobi, Kenya….Kenya scored big at the inaugural Afri-Plastics Summit & Awards ceremony when 5 out of a total 9 start-ups scooped £2M as part of the Afri-Plastics Challenge, a continent-wide plastics innovation challenge worth £4.1M.

The awards were the culmination of a four-year initiative designed by Challenge Works and funded by Global Affairs Canada to recognize trailblazing innovators that are tackling the global plastics problem and protecting the ocean. Out of the 9 shortlisted start-ups, five were women-led, and two from Kenya winning a total of £500,000, demonstrating the role women play in designing sustainable innovative solutions that benefit communities.

Speaking at the Awards ceremony, Principal Secretary, State Department of Environment & Climate Change Eng. Festus K. Ng’eno, said  “In Kenya, 37,000 metric tonnes of plastic get into the Indian ocean annually causing devastating disruption in our marine ecosystem.

He added, “As a Ministry, we have invested heavily in both policies and law enforcement to win the fight against plastic pollution. We have banned the manufacturing, retailing, distribution and importation of plastic carrier and flat bags for commercial or household use since 2017; in 2019 we also prohibited their use in protected areas.”

“To guide the country’s transition to a green growth and circular economy pathway, we implemented the Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan (2016-2030), as well as The Sustainable Waste Management Act 2022. These investments have strengthened Kenya’s position globally as an environmental steward and we are excited to see that other African countries have taken similar commitments against plastics,” he explained.

Christopher Thornley, Canada’s High Commissioner in Nairobi said: “Plastic pollution is an issue that affects everyone. Plastics that make their way into the marine ecosystem are just as damaging whether they originated in Mombasa or Montreal, Lagos or London. The winners of the Afri-Plastics Challenge show there is a way forward for establishing a successful circular economy for plastic waste, with innovations capable of changing how we all use and dispose of plastic – not only in Africa but around the world.”

Jonathan Slater, International Development Director, Challenge Works said: “During this groundbreaking Afri-Plastic Summit and Awards we have brought together leaders, innovators, policymakers, and entrepreneurs from all corners of the African continent with the aim to foster collaboration and develop innovative, sustainable solutions to tackle plastic pollution in Africa and beyond.”

He concluded, “We are also incredibly grateful to all the partners that made the Afri-plastics Challenge a success, the initiative provided a unique opportunity to create lasting change and forge a sustainable, plastic-free future for Africa. We are proud of all the innovators who participated and look forward to seeing the impact that those who won more than £4 million will have; from doubling recycling rates to providing new sources of income for families, pioneering companies converting invasive plants in Lake Victoria into biodegradable materials and businesses creating affordable cooking gas from trash.”

Winners of the Afri-Plastic Challenge are:

  • £1 million was awarded to Togo’s Green Industry Plast (GIP-TOGO) – a recycling business that helps households earn a living through waste plastic collection. GIP-TOGO then sorts, shreds, cleans and bags the shredded plastic to be used again, including in ecological paving slabs.
  • Kenya’s Chemolex won £750,000 to scale production of Biopactic, a biodegradable alternative to plastic made from invasive water hyacinths that grow aggressively in Lake Victoria. The next generation material can completely replace single use plastic in food and product packaging – not only reducing plastic pollution, but dealing with an invasive plant impacting Kenya’s marine ecosystem too.
  • £500,000 was won by Mega Gas in Kenya which converts waste plastic into affordable cooking gas for people living on less than US$1 a day. It uses a thermal cracking process that creates no emissions, residue or pollution to turn plastic pollution, such as polythene, into a fuel for rural families.
  • Chanja Datti (Nigeria) – awarded £750,000 –a woman-led business based in Abuja, it converts collected recyclable waste into commercially viable products. It collects, sorts and bails plastic before selling it on to manufacturers.
  • EcoCoCo Homecare (Kenya) – awarded £250,000 – a woman-led that has developed alternatives to plastic homeware products that use fibres from coconut husks left over from coconut oil production, including scouring pads, scrubbing brushes and brooms.
  • Toto Safi (Rwanda) – awarded £100,000 – a a woman-led diapers-on-demand service which makes sustainable cloth diapers a realistic alternative to single-use plastic-based nappies. Through its app, parents can order clean and sterilised nappies at an affordable cost, while used nappies are taken away to be cleaned.
  • Catharina Natang (Cameroon) – awarded £250,000 – a woman-led business training fashion designers in Africa to make sustainable choices in the textiles they use and understand plant-based alternatives to polymer-based materials.
  • Ukwenza VR (Kenya) – awarded £250,000 – uses virtual reality to explain the journey of a piece of plastic after it is dumped, including the damage it does to local environments, to persuade people to make different choices around plastic consumption and disposal.
  • Baus Taka Enterprise (Kenya) – awarded £250,000 – a woman-led business that developed a mobile app to encourage people to segregate their plastic waste – through competitions it offers cash rewards and points that can be redeemed for medical services in partnership with health clinics.

The successful innovations developed through the Afri-Plastics Challenge have paved the way to revolutionise Africa’s approach to reducing reliance on plastic. They are also supporting the empowerment of women and girls by creating economic opportunities for women. 60% of entries that made it to the final 40 were women-led.

Innovators focussed on recycling solutions reported a 113% increase in monthly collecting and processing during the prize. In the long-term, the development and scaling of the innovators’ solutions will lead to the creation of new, sustainable local enterprises, creating alternatives to single-use plastics and improving collection and processing of waste.

About the Afri-Plastics Challenge

The Afri-Plastics Challenge, run by innovation prize experts Challenge Works, is scaling solutions to the scourge of plastic pollution in sub-Saharan Africa thanks to funding from the Government of Canada. The challenge comprises three strands to take on the problem on multiple fronts.

  • Strand 1Accelerating Growth – rewarding innovative solutions to managing plastic waste after it has been used and discarded (i.e. downstream solutions). Total prize money of £2.25 million.
  • Strand 2Creating Solutions – rewarding innovative solutions to reducing the volume of plastic in packaging and other products before it is used (i.e. upstream solutions). Total Prize money of £1.1 million.
  • Strand 3Promoting Change – rewarding creative campaigns and projects to influence behaviour change among individuals and communities to promote sustainable consumption around plastic. Total prize money of £750,000.

About Challenge Works

For a decade, Challenge Works has established itself as a global leader in designing and delivering high-impact challenge prizes that incentivise cutting-edge innovation for social good. We are a social enterprise founded by the UK’s innovation agency Nesta. In the last 10 years, we have run more than 80 prizes, distributed £84 million in funding and engaged with 12,000 innovators.

Challenge prizes champion open innovation through competition. We specify a problem that needs solving, but not what the solution should be. We offer large cash incentives to encourage diverse innovators to apply their ingenuity to solving the problem. The most promising solutions are rewarded with seed funding and expert capacity building support, so that they can prove their impact and effectiveness. The first or best innovation to solve the problem wins. This approach levels the playing field for unknown and previously untested innovators so that the best ideas, no matter their origin, are brought to bear on the most difficult of global challenges.

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