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Farmers are stranded with the produce due to lack of market after harvesting. Marketing remains one of the biggest challenges./FILE


WB announces first cohort from competition to fund Kenyan agricultural entrepreneurs

Some of the selected entrepreneurs fall under different sectors such as productivity, market linkages, and financial inclusions and Data analytics/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – The World Bank Kenya has selected the first cohort which includes 14 agricultural entrepreneurs from the ‘One Million Farmer Initiative’ was initiative competition seeking to access new agricultural technologies by 2022.

Some of the selected entrepreneurs fall under different sectors such as productivity, market linkages, and financial inclusions and Data analytics.

The selection criteria required participants to have tried their technology on a minimum of 3,000 farmers in terms of outreach and impact. They were also required to have developed proof of concept with a viable and sustainable business model over at least two years.

Other factors considered were whether participants have data and evidence of impact on productivity, with a focus on smallholders and women farmers, showcase interaction and engagement with other ecosystem players and demonstrate how they can reach at least 10,000 farmers in next two years.

Anup Jgawani, who is the Principal Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation, and a member of the judging panel said the shortlisting was challenging and were selected on their potential to best effect change in the Kenyan Agriculture system.

The first cohort of agri-tech innovators will be eligible to apply for competitive grants have access to an in-kind incubation support over 12-18 months.

“The first cohort of technologies symbolise the future of Kenyan agriculture and were chosen because of their potential to best effect change at scale,” Jgawani said.

The ‘One Million Farmer Initiative’ was formed by The World Bank Group in collaboration with Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility, Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology; Kuza Technologies, Dalberg, the UN SDG Partnership Platform, among others.

Kenya accounts for 23 per cent of all agri-tech start-ups in Africa, “yet scaling up impact of digital and disruptive technologies requires systematic investment in knowledge, innovation and the incubation ecosystem.”

About 24.2 per cent of Kenyans are estimated to still suffer from undernourishment, according to 2016 data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

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