Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Ag-techs targeting micro and small agripreneurs

6 June 2024
. Roundtable discussion: Ag-techs targeting micro and small agripreneurs

The latest trends and disruptions affecting the agricultural supply chains, like changes in nutrition preferences towards higher value, perishable agricultural and livestock products, and increasing urbanization, have led to the emergence of innovative micro and small ag-techs proposing new business models. 

These start-ups can take the form of small shops distributing inputs, to new businesses across the logistics, farm mechanization, processing and distribution spectrum. Like any other small enterprise operating in the agriculture sector, these new start-ups struggle to access the financial and operational support they need to meet their growth ambitions. 

This webinar explored which innovations these ag-tech can draw on within these same areas of support.

Read the highlights of  Blending technology, agriculture and finance

The first area of focus will be on ag-tech solutions are a beacon of innovation that promises to rejuvenate agriculture. New technologies, including digital technologies, have become a key factor to increase productivity and drive sustainability in agricultural supply chains from farm to fork. Simultaneously, the advent of digital technologies, services and tools heralds a new era for innovative ‘agripreneurs’ that capitalize on new technologies to deliver higher value processing.

However, the journey does not end with the provision of tools and technologies. The true measure of success lies in nurturing agribusiness start-ups, the sprouting seeds of the industry, through a spectrum of services, from tailored financing to non-financial support, addressing key challenges, and learning from the experiences of those who have walked the path before.

This event delves into the innovative world of ag-tech solutions targeting commercial agricultural enterprises in the micro and small segments. Two broad categories of providers will be explored:Business to Consumer (B2C) models through which ag-techs create an ecosystem of services for farmers and agribusinesses through comprehensive platforms. Services and products range from input distribution and finance, agronomic advisory, mechanization services, and sales to off-takers.
Business to Business (B2B) models in which ag-techs offer services to financial institutions (banks and micro-finance institutions) and agribusiness firms to collect and process data and information that can improve credit facilitation and supply chain management.

This session explored how these models directly or indirectly facilitate finance for micro and small agribusinesses through their platforms. It also consider how these solutions use on-the-ground expertise to ensure their success and deliver value to all stakeholders in agricultural value chains.

Margarete O. Biallas, Agri-Finance Africa Practice Lead, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Moderator. Before joining IFC, Ms. Biallas held various positions with KfW including Senior Risk Manager, Credit Officer and Lead Investment Officer for global microfinance funds as well as positions leading financial institutions investments in Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Sarah Devermann, Manager, ISF Advisors. During her time at ISF, Sarah has focused almost exclusively on the AgTech and ClimateTech sectors across emerging markets. 
  • Akshay Chandrasekhar, Head of Investor Relations and Sustainability, Apollo Agriculture. Apollo Agriculture is a leading agri-fintech platform, empowering small-scale farmers across Africa to increase their profits and farm more sustainably. Akshay has a Bachelor’s degree in Production Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Trichy and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.
  • Aditya Thareja, Head of Strategy and Partnership, Jiva. Before Jiva, Aditya was a Principal at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), leading projects for clients in agriculture, FMCG, and private equity, with a focus on go-to-market design, growth strategy, and finance transformation. 
  • Prateep Basu is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of SatSure, a decision analytics startup leveraging satellite imagery, machine learning, and big data to provide solutions for sustainable development, food security, and climate resilience. With a background in aerospace engineering from the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology and postgraduate studies from the International Space University, Prateep has extensive experience in both the business and technical aspects of the space industry. 
  • Pravin Kulkarni is the Vice President and Lead for Rural at TransUnion CIBIL. He is an accomplished professional in the financial services sector, specializing in rural banking and agribusiness. Pravin holds a degree from Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Agricultural University in Maharashtra, India.

The burgeoning AgTech scene in sub-Saharan Africa demonstrates significant potential to capitalize on digitization and innovation to facilitate the provision of financial services for historically un- or under-banked consumer segments. This is especially important for the agriculture sector which is plagued by considerable financing gaps - the gap for agricultural small- and medium-sized enterprises (agri-SMEs) and smallholder farmers on the continent is estimated at $117 billion. In this context, this report explores how AgTechs can be a conduit for increased financing throughout seven markets in sub-Saharan Africa: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.

IFC (2024) Mapping of Digital Solutions to Support Financial Services Providers in Assessing Climate Impact on Agricultural Portfolios # 55 p.

The market of digital solutions to assess climate risk impact on agricultural portfolios of financial services providers is growing in size and coverage rapidly. This report is the result of a mapping exercise to ascertain the status quo of tools and providers on both a global and a targeted market level.

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