Heifer unveils Digital Agriculture Champions initiative in Africa to drive sustainable growth

AFRICA – Heifer International, a non-profit organization on a mission to end global hunger and poverty, has launched the Digital Agriculture Champions (DAC) initiative in the region.

The initiative will leverage exponential digital technologies as a key component in the design of signature programs covering 11 countries of Heifer’s operations in Africa.

In a statement, Heifer added that the effort will deliver sustainable, cost-effective training modules for smallholder farmers across Africa, starting with Kenya.

“Heifer is advancing technology and mechanization to address some of the post-pandemic challenges across different Agricultural value chains in Africa; investing in digital extension systems for training as a post-pandemic response strategy that will create efficient, scalable solutions for farmers and help boost the value chains in which they work.

“The company is also committed to mentoring the youth who often constitute the extension staff, and is focused on empowering them to become digital champions with entrepreneurship skills to ensure quality services for farmers, and sustainable business models beyond the life of Heifer project interventions.

“The Digital Agriculture Champions initiative will foster the application of digital technology in Agriculture, delivering solutions that address challenges faced by smallholder farmers at scale,” said Adesuwa Ifedi, Senior Vice President Africa Programs, Heifer.

The initiative will capitalize on incubating young entrepreneurs, who then each engage approximately 200 households in rural communities, giving them the knowledge, tools, and networks needed to transform how they do business in a sustainable way, especially in agriculture.

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To ensure fruitification of the initiative, Heifer is working with Kuza Biashara, a digital social enterprise, as technical partner, to offer a bundled solution that provides personalized digital training and extension services to smallholder farmers in Africa.

“We are a strong believer in the fact that one plus one is 11. When you bring tools to partners together with a common, shared vision and values, you can create magic,” said Kuza’s founder, Sriram Bharatam.

Kuza is a B Corp certified social enterprise from Kenya offering a mobile-first micro-learning community platform that provides youth, women and micro-entrepreneurs from marginalized communities with the opportunity to learn, connect and grow on their terms and pace.

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The partnership with the enterprise is a product of Heifer International’s “AYuTe Africa Challenge”, a competition that awards cash grants of up to US$1.5 million annually to the most promising young Agri-technology innovators across Africa who are using technology to reimagine farming and food production across the continent.

Kuza, though it did not emerge as a winner of the inaugural competition, the company was a top contender with strong capacity and capabilities to deliver Heifer’s content digitization initiative, the Digital Agriculture Champions at scale.

In the recently concluded AYuTe Africa Challenge, Heifer International, crowned Nigeria’s ColdHub and Kenya based Hello Tractor as the winners of the competition.

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