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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid