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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More