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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid