WHY AFRICA NEEDS MORE AGRITECH ENTREPRENEURS
Agriculture is the biggest employer in Africa with about 70% of the population depending on it to make a living. Agriculture contributed to about 32% of Africa’s GDP as at 2016. Growth in this sector is 11 times more effective in reducing poverty than growth in any other sector. The agricultural value chain is to add more jobs than any other sector in countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
Despite the importance of agriculture in Africa, it is not delivering its full potential. About 160 million Africans still go to bed hungry everyday due to low food production amidst other factors. Many African farmers lack access to improved seedlings, fertilizers and best farming practices. African entrepreneurs including technology founders have already begun addressing some of these challenges. The issue is the task is enormous and we need more agritech entrepreneurs to take on the challenges.
Agritech startups have begun to make a dent across the continent. More still needs to be done to increase productivity and profitability across Africa’s food system. For one, majority of agritech startups in Africa (60%) are located in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. In order for the impact of agritech to run quickly across the continent, more startups are to serve or emerge in countries like Chad where food security is one of the lowest in the world. It is a critical problem as the world population is to grow to 9.1 billion by 2050 with 2 billion being Africans. There needs to be a 70% increase in food production to match the population growth and avoid a bigger hunger crisis.