News / Africa

Fledgling Agri-Business Entrepreneurs Show Off Goods

FILE - A farmer harvests wheat on a field in the El-Menoufia governorate, north of Cairo, Egypt.
FILE - A farmer harvests wheat on a field in the El-Menoufia governorate, north of Cairo, Egypt.
Nick Long
— An agricultural business conference in Kigali has allowed a half-dozen fledgling entrepreneurs the opportunity to discuss innovations designed to improve incomes for farmers.
 
After developing their respective products via World Bank-sponsored "agri-business incubators" based in six African countries, many of the young professionals hope to launch companies of their own one day.
 
Karupan Chetty of the International Crops Research Institute says each of incubator belongs to a network called Unibrain, and each is a partner academics and businesses to aid the process of sustainable economic growth.
 
"Each entity which is being created has a multi-partnership in terms of [a] research institution, a university and a particular agri-business organization of that particular country," Chetty said.
 
The young entrepreneurs made new products out of coffee, banana, sorghum, mango and pineapple, and the winning contestant, Denis Kasule of Uganda, produced a pineapple juice drink.
 
Started in 2010 with a $25 loan from a friend, Kasule says his business totaled $7,200 in sales last year.
 
"I started in a kitchen and today I have a market share of 0.0005 percent, and I am aiming for 99.998 percent market share in Uganda," he said.
 
According to development research conducted by the World Bank, each new job in agro-processing leads to the creation of nearly three additional jobs and contributes to so-called "green growth," environmentally friendly economic expansion.
 
Kasule says his product complies with the program's ecological criteria by using pineapple peel waste from his processing method to make an enzyme that can be used to tenderize meat, which helps reduce cooking time, thereby lowering the amount of charcoal used and minimizing deforestation.
 
While World Bank consultant Judge Steve Giddings says African business incubators, initially founded some 10 years ago, are now starting to bear fruits of commerce and enterprise, more data is needed from the innovators.
 
Some, he say, submit little or no financial information about their businesses.
 
"It is increasing," Giddings said. "It is looking way more positive than it did five years ago, but even that said, I think we are not collecting enough information to really make the case for incubation."
 
Last year World Bank researchers released a study which looked at three agri-business incubators that had been operating in Africa for about 10 to 15 years, and found that one in Mozambique had "graduated" — that is, helped in creation of some 400 companies.
 
Another in Uganda, however, had not graduated any, and a third in South Africa had several hundred clients, but the report did not say how many successful businesses it had launched.
 
Those representing the World Bank’s agri-business innovation programs have said they will focus more on established small businesses than on start-ups.
 
Ralph Von Kauffman, a former Unibrain coordinator said some organizations have found that incubating agri-business startups is difficult, and that even California’s Silicon Valley sees less than one in ten start-ups succeed.
 
But, he added, there are great opportunities if university brains can be applied to agri-business community, and Unibrain is helping academics and firms to work together in a way they have not done before.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid