twitter linkedin acp contact

Read the Digital Magazine

Top Stories

Grid List

The platform is active in 25 Nigerian states and moved almost US$30mn worth of produce last year. (Image source: GITEX Africa))

Event News

Winich Farms has announced its decision to participate in Africa's largest Tech and startup event, GITEX Africa for the second time in a row this year

Winich Farms is an agritech platform specifically designed to tackle the pain points plaguing Nigeria's agricultural sector. It operates on two key pillars, namely providing farmers with better market access and financial empowerment, and thus successfully operating at the intersection of agritech, embedded finance, and financial inclusion. 

Through a digital marketplace, Winich Farms connects farmers directly with off-takers like factories and retailers, effectively cutting out the middleman to ensure farmers receive a significantly fairer share for their produce. The product tackles a problem facing most of the African continent. 

Today, Winich Farms has over 80,000 users on its platform spanning smallholder farmers, agents, truck drivers, and off-takers. The platform is active in 25 Nigerian states and moved almost US$30mn worth of produce last year. In a 2023 survey of 5,000 registered farmers on the Winich Farms platform, 93% of the farmers said that it has increased by over 50%. Some 65% of them said that Winich has made them more climate-resilient.

For more information, visit: https://GITEXAfrica.com 

Results from the company's R&D have garnered substantial attention from investors for the advancement of the inaugural methane-reducing vaccine. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Cattle

Last month, leading ag-biotech start-up ArkeaBio announced the close of a US$26.5mn Series A financing round aimed at advancing their methane reducing vaccine R&D

ArkeaBio's vaccine will provide an innovative, cost-effective and scalable solution to reduce the world’s livestock methane emissions, which currently generate the equivalent of 3 bn tonnes of CO2 annually and represent 6% of annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Results from the company's R&D have garnered substantial attention from investors for the advancement of the inaugural methane-reducing vaccine.

The funds raised in this Series A financing will play a pivotal role in expanding the research, development and deployment of the vaccine, including large-scale field trials and engagement along the supply chain. The company aims to bring this transformative solution to the market through collaborative efforts with industry partners, regulatory authorities, and environmental organisations. 

“We are thankful for the financial support, confidence, and trust of our investors. This funding will accelerate the development of our vaccine-based solution to meet a pressing global problem,” said ArkeaBio CEO, Colin South. “To echo the sentiments of The Grantham Foundation: ‘climate change is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. It is the race of our lives.’ This capital raise allows us to continue to create the tools necessary for farmers to achieve globally relevant reductions in livestock methane emissions.”

For more information, visit: www.arkeabio.com 

The new guidelines seek to reflect the realities of African food systems to improve the ways in which African governments engage with the informal sector in their efforts to improve the safety of foods. (Image source: flickr)

Agriculture

The African Union (AU) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have entered into partnership to produce the first framework to improve food safety in the informal food sector

Africa's informal food markets comprising street vendors, kiosks, and traditional market sellers, among others are critical for food security, employment and livelihoods, particularly for the continent's urban poor, with around 70% of Africa's urban households buying food from these markets. However, neglect and mismanagement of food safety in these domestic markets has resulted in around 90 million Africans falling sick from foodborne illness every year. This has in turn cost an estimated US$16bn in productivity losses, thus prompting the development of these new guidelines. 

The new guidelines seek to reflect the realities of African food systems to improve the ways in which African governments engage with the informal sector in their efforts to improve the safety of foods. Embracing and engaging with the informal food sector as a cornerstone of food systems transformation is likely to play a key role in the post-Malabo agenda. Published in 2021, the AU’s continental-wide Food Safety Strategy for Africa is the base upon which the new draft guidelines have been developed. 

While compliance with food safety standards has improved in Africa’s exported goods, progress has been limited when it comes to the domestic informal sector, which is typically fragmented and under-resourced. The guidelines are informed by ILRI’s research and interventions for improved food safety across Africa. This has included a 'push-pull' approach in Burkina Faso, which involved both food hygiene training for chicken grillers as well as awareness campaigns for consumers, and inclusive professionalisation of the informal milk sector in Kenya through training and marketing.

By consulting with informal sector actors and partners, the AU and ILRI are helping to refine the guidelines from 10 June. The consultation process with member states will continue throughout 2024 and 2025 before the framework is scheduled to be presented to the AU policy bodies for approval in 2025.

“Western approaches to improving food safety, which include compliance with strict requirements and involve complex documentation processes, are really only suited to the formal sector, which is regularised and has sufficient financial resources,” said Silvia Alonso, senior scientist epidemiologist at ILRI. “The reality is most African consumers buy food from the informal sector, which requires different approaches for food safety management. With the right support, governments can unlock the informal food sector as a vehicle for healthy and safe foods for all, and a source of decent and dignified employment for men and women, especially youth, in Africa.”

In addition, food safety officer at the African Union International Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), John Oppong-Otoo believes that these new guidelines will provide realistic and practical guidance to help governments work with the informal sector and gradually transform it to safely and sustainably sustain the population.

A drone flies over a farm in Tanzania. (Image source: FAO/Eduardo Soteras)

Machinery & Equipment

On 17 May, at the Business Federations of the G7 (B7) meeting which took place in Rome, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), QU Dongy highlighted that AI is not just a technological shift, but is driving a fundamental economic and social transformation at the broadest level

He noted that ”Digital agriculture can revolutionise how we produce, distribute and consume food,” highlighting that potential benefits for farmers and stakeholders across agrifood systems include improved pricing data, minimising food loss and waste, enhancing food safety and stimulating adoption of better seeds, fertiliser and sustainable practices.

The B7 comprises the main business and industrial federations of the G7 members and the European Union. Once a year, the B7 presents its recommendations on selected priority topics to the G7 presidency, which this year is held by Italy.

The Director-General emphasised the central role that data plays in AI and digital technologies, noting that quality data is needed to train innovative tools and to accelerate actions such as agrifood systems transformation.

FAO has a formidable database in FAOSTAT, data is central to FAO’s Strategic Framework 2022-2031 and has an innovation lab to experiment with new sources and methods. One takeaway from those initiatives is that data ecosystems require significant investment and effective collaboration. FAO stands ready to engage and partner with the B7 group and the private sector in this area, Qu said.

Most Read

Latest news