Following its March 2016 launch, the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC), in partnership with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), hosted Ghana’s inaugural AgriTech Exchange on April 13th and 14th 2016.
The Exchange consisted of a series of highly interactive and informative brainstorming sessions; helping young MEST entrepreneurs build the foundation of commercially-viable AgriTech startups. The event brought together a mix of Ghanaian agribusiness representatives, local technology specialists, young entrepreneurs from MEST, and a group of senior mentors to spur technology innovations designed to address the needs of Ghana’s agricultural sector.
The AgriTech Exchange began by introducing participants to some of the latest technology innovations – created by companies like Esoko, Vodafone Ghana, Airtel Ghana, Farmerline, and HNI — that have been applied to the needs of agriculturalists in Ghana. Participants then went on to gain an in-depth view of the challenges faced by Ghana’s agricultural sector. On the second day, participants brought together both problems and solutions, brainstorming various ideas for technologies that can address the problems outlined, as well as form the basis of a viable business. These business concepts will be further developed with the guidance of KIC and MEST mentors.
Key stakeholders identified and prioritized a number of areas as the most pressing needs across Ghana’s agricultural value chain, including improving access to certified agricultural inputs, improving access to technical and market information for farmers, creating effective channels to market agricultural products, and connecting farmers with appropriate sources of financing.
In response, participants brainstormed a number of innovative technology solutions that included:
• a smartphone app to monitor fertilizer and seed distribution
• a mobile phone-based tracking system for expired and fake agro-chemicals
• a software platform for inventory management at packing houses
• an SMS and web-enabled system that provides financial analysis and investor matching for smallholder farmers
Over the coming months, KIC and MEST will work with these entrepreneurs to refine these concepts and others into fully-viable businesses through a series of mentoring, coaching, and market research activities. This process will kick off with a Lunch & Learn series on May 6th, 2016.