Agrocenta is Giving African Farmers Pre- and Post-Harvest Autonomy

Agriculture has always been a major mainstay in Africa. From the early times when individuals practiced sole subsistence farming to the times when markets were built for the sale of agricultural produce, and of course, modern times when we desperately need farmers to plant and rear a vast majority of the food we eat. In recent times, however, agriculture in Africa has not been able to adequately plug the gaping holes that our growing population needs, hence, we have to resort to importing both agricultural produce and processed food. The implication of this is a massive reduction in the GDP of African countries and a general loss of revenue, both to the government and individuals involved in the overall process of food production.

Successive governments have tried to combat this problem by using various schemes to incentivize farming and making attractive enough for more people to come in. Ultimately, this will yield results, but one vital part is constantly left out: The link between the farmers and their markets. And this is the heart of what Agrocenta, a Ghanaian technology startup, is working actively on.

Agrocenta’s solution. Source: Agrocenta website

Agrocenta

Agrocenta co-founders, Francis Obirikorang (CEO) and Michael Ocansey (CTO). (L-R). Source: Agrocenta Website

Agrocenta is a technology company focused on solving market linkage and financial inclusion problems in the agricultural value chain. It was founded by Francis Obirikorang (CEO) and Michael K. Ocansey (CTO) in 2015. Their aim was to tackle two critical areas of importance to the farmers: access to a viable and profitable market, and access to finance and credit facilities. They decided to solve these problems by leveraging on technology through three outlets which they developed: AgroInfo, AgroTrade, AgroPay, and the Truckr app.

This is how these technologies work individually and in synergy: Imagine a small farmer in rural Ghana, for example. We’ll call him Sam. Let’s say Sam has a small farm that grows beans. An Agrocenta agent approaches Sam and signs him on to the Agrocenta platforms. Within the process of farming – planting crops and tending before harvest – Sam gets updates on the weather, how the micro-climate might affect his crops or turn out and more through Agrocenta’s AgroInfo platform. Based on the information he has obtained from AgroInfo, Sam plants his crops and takes precautions and safeguards that eventually make him have a great harvest.

Agrocenta staff and agents. Source: Agrocenta Website.

Before his contact with Agrocenta’s agent, Sam would usually sell his products to one middle man – who had little or no competition – from one of the major urban centers. But now, all Sam has to do is notify the agent that he has produce in stock, and his information is updated on the AgroTrade platform, which is a virtual marketplace that links farmers to potential buyers. All of a sudden, Sam has different people calling him to buy his products. He eventually sells to the highest bidder.

Agrocenta, through the Truckr app, also helps farmers get their goods to their intended destinations in a very short time. Agrocenta partnered with the Ghana Private Road Transport Union, who has a horde of commercial drivers that can help to transport farmers’ products on short notice. Sam quickly calls a transporter on the Truckr platform and in very little time, his goods are on their way to the paying customer.

If Sam needs to expand his farm, or boost productivity in a particular stage of production, by obtaining a loan from the bank, then AgroPay is the answer. Because banks would usually need to know that the farmer can pay back his loan in due time, they usually require a paper trail of the transactions that he has made through his business – the farm. Sam’s former transactions with middlemen were mostly cash-for-produce, and there was no established paper trail, except, perhaps, whenever he went to put money in the bank. With AgroPay, however, all his transactions can be re-traced and used as a verifiable history of transactions to be presented to the banks.

Agrocenta’s metric. Source: Agrocenta website.

Agrocenta’s work is cut out for them, and they’re doing it well. Currently, over 12,000 farmers are registered on the platform and the number is growing. More than ever, Agrocenta is giving more autonomy to the African farmer – a move that helps him to make a better decision as to where, how and at what price his produce is sold. The exploitative middleman is one less problem to worry about now, which ultimately means more money in his pockets.

To find out more, you can visit the Agrocenta website at Agrocenta.com .

 

Olawale Onibata creating bespoke footwears

Olawale Onibata is an indigenous African brand providing the market with quality premium footwear that speak to individuals’ specific needs. The shoes are made in Nigeria to supply a growing market and demand!

About the company

Established in 2011, Olawale Onibata Inc. was first created out of the love of shoes. The Nigerian born Creative Director, Olawale Olukunga says, “While I was in school I found myself knowing names of different shoes everyone around me was putting on. From there it just became part of me. I started of with selling designer shoes and I did that for three years (with the nickname olawale footlocker). After school, during my NYSC period, I learnt the process of shoe-making”.

The O.O brand – as it is fondly called – is known for bespoke leather works ranging from shoes, slippers, sandals to boots and loafers. Onibata provides customized solutions for customers, taking into consideration the customers’ needs and style and matching products that meet the customer’s budget. By now they have served over a thousand customers and have established a strong supplier network to always ensure customers’ needs are met.

Their Mission

Making these bespoke pieces involves a lot of work, scrutiny and attention to detail. The materials come from the leather market in Lagos and its environs. It is very important to them to source locally and to satisfy a growing demand for their goods. On top of this O.O wants to be a trendsetter, creating new looks and offering people a wide variety. Currently there is a range of 12 products available. With a growing youth population this is sure to expand in the future as they aim to fill a gap in the market. “We have the best of workers. People that are ready to learn and improve and they constantly raise the bar in the area of hard work. We work from the creative director’s home for now”.

The O.O brand boasts of a good delivery process, which ensures that shoes are delivered within 2-3 working days after the order has been placed.

What’s more, they seeks to address the popular narrative that not everyone can afford genuine leather bespoke work. With as little as 8,000 Naira ($23), Onibata’s bespoke creations are affordable for a broad range of people. Other products cost between 18,000 Naira to 23,000 Naira.

Challenges faced

Some of the biggest challenges the shoe makers face are availability of the different types of leather, logistics issues and a prompt delivery process. People tend to place orders for shoes within a day. This means the team often has to work overtime in order to meet up with such demands. They are constantly working to address these issues and offer customers the best service and products possible!

The O.O brand can be reached via their social media platforms:
Website: www.olawaleonibata.com
Facebook:  Olawale Onibata
Instagram:

Asoriba aims to put your entire church experience in your hands everyday and everywhere.

Four Ghanaians met at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST Africa), a technology incubator, and hit it off immediately. The reason; besides the fact that they are all technology enthusiasts they are passionate believers in their religion – Christianity. Each of them was also actively involved in their respective local churches.

The end product of this meeting is Asoriba, a web-based management platform for church administration. It was primarily birthed from pooling their collective experiences about the problems African churches face and trying to solve some of them with technology. Read more

Paga is the Mobile Payment Service For Everyone

Eight years ago, Tayo Oviosu founded Paga, which has grown to be Nigeria’s leading mobile payment. It all started from the frustration of carrying cash around and seeking for an easier way to spend without going about with cash or compelled to use ATM cards even when it wasn’t convenient. Read more

Piggybank.NG is helping you save money at your own pace

The​ ​name,​ ​just​ ​like​ ​the​ ​app,​ ​is​ ​simple​ ​and​ ​straight​ ​to​ ​the​ ​point.​ ​They​ ​want​ ​​you to save your money, small small. ​The​ ​app​lication ​was​ ​developed​ ​by​ ​piggytech​ ​global​ ​limited with its payments​ ​​processed​ ​securely​ ​by Paystack​​ ​and​ ​safely​ ​deposited​ ​in​ ​UBA​ ​Nigeria​ ​Plc. So​ ​while​ ​you​ ​put​ ​your​ ​money​ ​into​ ​their​ ​system,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​perfectly​ ​safe​ ​and​ ​secure.
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8 women’s day quotes from some of Africa’s Women Entrepreneurs

The earliest event(National Women Day) was observed in the United State of America on the 28th of Feb 1909. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honor of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working condition. In 1975, the United Nations gave official sanction to March 8 as the “International Women’s Day Celebration” and began sponsoring it. The global celebration which  aim to inspire women  across the world and reflect on  “progress made, a call for change and to celebrate Act of courage  and determination  by ordinary women who have played  extraordinary role in the history of their communities and countries.”

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Want to Build a Global brand? How ready are you?

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Okadabooks is rewriting Africa one e-Book at a time

African nostalgia can be painfully myopic sometimes. I mean, you see Europeans, Asians and Americans talking about their history as far back as the 15th century, with well documented facts, figures and sometimes, pictures – and you just stand there, chanting “our history is rich” out of thin air. Truthfully, whenever anyone talks about “African history”, in vivid terms, what they really mean is the late 1800’s and the early/ mid 1900’s.

So Why make Books?

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