Kenya top in Africa on agriculture tech startups

Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana are top agri-tech markets in Africa accounting for over 60 per cent of start-ups that are active on the continent, a new report shows.

The report by Africa’s start-up portal, Disrupt Africa, shows that Kenya accounts for 23.2 per cent of all African agri-tech start-ups (19 companies).

Kenya has been the pioneer market for agri-tech since 2010, but the report notes that there is an acceleration in West Africa over the past two years.

The report shows that the Kenyan agri-tech start-ups were able to raise over Sh1.37 billion ($13.7 million) between 2015 and 2017. According to the report, there were 82 agri-tech start-ups in operation across Africa by January 2018. Out of these, 52 per cent were launched in the past two years.

The report tracks annual start-up activity in the agri-tech space.

Over the course of this period, over $19 million (Sh1.9 billion) has been invested inAfrican agri-tech start-ups, with annual fundraising figures growing rapidly.

The total amount of funding raised in 2017 grew by over 121 per cent compared to 2016.

A co-founder of Disrupt Africa, Gabriella Mulligan in a statement last week said the scope for innovation in the agricultural sphere is vast, adding that “a refreshed take on the sector could unlock huge value for the whole of Africa”.

“That’s why this report is so exciting – it shines a light on the extent to which the continent’s entrepreneurs are already disrupting the agricultural industry. Behind the scenes, there has been formidable acceleration in the agri-tech market recently, and it is one of the most interesting spaces to watch in Africa today,” said Ms Mulligan.

Tom Jackson, also a co-founder of Disrupt Africa, termed the report as telling as there is a lot needed to be known “in this still very nascent space”.

“Everyone knows how important the agricultural sector is across Africa, but until very recently it remained relatively untouched by tech innovators. That is suddenly changing as entrepreneurs and investors realise the scale of the challenges facing farmers, and spot opportunities to reach huge addressable markets,” said Mr Jackson.

Start-ups are particularly involved in applying e-commerce to the agriculture industry, with this type of agri-focused e-commerce platform accounting for 32.9 per cent of start-ups, the report says.

It adds that information and knowledge sharing platforms are also popular, while a substantial number of entrepreneurs are focused on delivering fintech solutions for farmers.

A total of six sub-sectors are examined in the report.

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