With a country such as ours, it’s helpful that as tech progresses, it affects the sectors of our economy which make the most impact among citizens. Kosmos saw a similar need and launched the Kosmos Innovation Center sometime in 2016 to support agritech startups and provide incubation for them through the MEST Incubator.
Last year, Ghalani and Trotro Tractor bagged US$50,000 each as winners of the inaugural KIC Agritech Challenge. At the beginning of 2017, the second edition was launched, and has been running within the past 9 months, to help select startups which will be funded and incubated for growth. The competition just ended, and the winners awarded accordingly.
Unlike last year where only two winners emerged, this year’s challenge saw two main winners, AKOKOTAKRA and QualiTrace, and 4 other startups who were selected to be funded by KIC partners — possibly with less funding amount — and incubated still, at the MEST Incubator.
‘Akokotakra(in local parlance, means “feathers of a fowl”), an enterprise management system helps poultry farmers to record, monitor, and track their operations in real time. This increases efficiency for the farmers as they become effective in managing their own data and monitor trends.
QualiTrace has developed a product to authenticate, track, and trace crop protection products used by farmers to increase their yields. Their mobile validation system aims to ensure that farmers and consumers in Ghana can identify genuine farm inputs and quality food produce. With fake agric products accounting for about $1.5 trillion globally on annual basis, QualiTrace wants to help just costs and make produce more authentic.
Here’s some information of the 4 other winners,
- AniTrack is a livestock management software, that identifies and tracks the health status of individual livestock through RFID technology, is being funded by the Meltwater School of Technology and Entrepreneurship (MEST)
- Complete Farmer, which provides agribusiness solutions services for an identified niche market of individuals through a practical, personalised and customised farming experience, is being funded by the Premium Bank of Ghana, with incubation sponsored by Kosmos.
- Agroseal, a logistics and transportation service company providing a platform which connects aggregators of fruits and vegetables to large scale farmers for timely truck service, is partnering with AgroCenta – which uses an online platform that connects smallholder farmers directly to a wider online market to sell their commodities. Agrocenta found success when they participated in KIC’s market research, skills training and capacity building program.
- Rent-a-farm, which provides an agricultural land rental marketplace for renters who want to access arable land, is partnering CompleteFarmer to complement the company’s agribusiness solutions services.
Last year’s KIC was a good start. Initial meetings with stakeholders, etc. helped entrepreneurs understand which issues are critical to solve, and the best approaches to be deployed. Now in its second year, it is great to know that the KIC has already supported 8 startups in building their businesses. We only look forward to even more startups being beneficiaries of this supportive program.