File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

Scaling digital agriculture innovations through start-ups

By Faheem Khota Time of article published Oct 2, 2020

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The South African Innnovation Summit (SAIS) supports selected African start-ups in the agri-food sector to scale their digital agriculture innovations and reach a larger group of users.

The project goal is to increase the income of these users through the widespread use of the innovations.SAIS is implemented by the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The project comprises three action areas.

Action Area 1: Identification, Evaluation and Selection of Start-ups

Action Area 2: Company Building & Investment Readiness Programme

Action Area 3: Partner & Investor Relations

The selection of start-ups is based on a range of criteria and a multi-stage selection process. Eligible start-ups are those that have already successfully set up a company in Africa, launched a digital innovation and have acquired their first customers. In addition, they must have a high growth potential in terms of market size and target group and their innovations must generate a positive income effect for their users. Moreover, the start-ups must be in the post-seed or pre-growth stage.

Regarding innovations, the following areas are potentially relevant:

– E-Commerce for farmers

– Information & consulting services (e.g. know-how, advice, weather data)

– Farm Supply Chain Management

– New technologies

In action area 3, the start-ups supported by SAIS are linked with potential business partners and investors through a demo day held at the end of the Investment Readiness Programme in order to establish concrete partnerships and business relationships. This is taking place at SAIS2020.

Bringo Fresh is a logistics company that helps small-holder farmers and food buyers to reduce food waste and enhance nutrition in Uganda.

Lentera is an AgriTech company that enables farmers increase their yield and adapt to climate change through satellite based crop analysis, and climate smart inputs.

eProd Solutions offers a Supply Chain Management system for the agricultural sector in Africa. It assists companies to scale up operations by providing an integrated platform to automate daily processes such as managing farmer profiles, field inspections, contracts, training, access to finance, etc.

Upande develops digital platforms which tracks assets including facilities, businesses, farms, utilities and key infrastructure. Every asset is digitized, can be monitored, maintained and accounted for in our platforms. Smart devices collect live data on the conditions in the field and can be used to trigger changes remotely. This gives our customers the power to manage operations from anywhere in the world from the palm of their hand.

E-msika Services Ltd is an agriculture technology company trading as eMsika. It runs an online agriculture market place using a website ( to help farmers and agro-dealers in rural and peri-urban areas to FIND, BUY and RECEIVE farm inputs from a variety of suppliers and also. provides farming advisory services to farmers across the country via an online platform, to train them on how to farm as a Business (Mulimi Apunzile).

Cookshop is an on-demand food marketplace with digital payment options and last mile delivery, using tech to repair the broken food value chain in Liberia.

Zowasel lets crop sellers expand their agribusiness beyond their local market and sell to the best bidders around the world. Buyers and sellers can register for free, and deals are negotiated and agreed by both parties before shipment based on quality specification.

Shopit leverages technology to help wholesalers and retailers to better distribute to consumers in low-income areas. It is a B2B mobile app that enables informal grocery store owners to compare prices at wholesalers, order all their stock from their phone at the best price and get it delivered to their doorstep.

B2C white-label apps for retailers in low-income areas. These apps offer turnkey online stores with delivery solutions.


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