AFRICA – Generation Africa, a partnership initiative with a vision to strengthen the ecosystem for youth entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector in Africa, has crowned Esther Kimani founder of FarmerLifeLine Technologies in Kenya and Mark Musinguzi founder of Hya Bioplastics in Uganda as the winners of the 4th edition of the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition.
The two winners of the 2022 edition of the competition were each awarded the grand prize of the US$50,000 GoGettaz, alongside the prestigious Africa Food Prize.
Emerging victorious among the women agripreneurs is Esther Kimani founder of FarmerLifeLine Technologies.
The company invented a device that helps Kenyan farmers to get ahead of pests and pathogens with a proprietary disease detection device that leverages solar-powered cameras, Artificial Intelligence, data analytics, and machine learning.
Among the men, grand prize winner Mark Musinguzi of Hya Bioplastics wants to lead Africa in sustainable food packaging with an innovative biodegradable product solution that provides a cost competitive alternative to petroleum-based plastic packaging.
“These young entrepreneurs are the in the midst of a food revolution. Their ventures are making a positive impact on their communities, their environment, and the local economy,” remarked Ms. Fernanda Lopes, Executive Vice President for Asia & Africa, Yara International, who awarded the winners on behalf of the Generation Africa co-founders.
The two emerged the winners from a selection of a total of 12 agripreneurs who participated in the competition.
The other participants included Lawrencia Kwansah founder of Dent Agrisystems, Ghana; Nancy Iraba owner Healthy Seaweed Company, Tanzania; Seynabou Dieng head of Maya Sarl, Senegal; Yvette Dickson-Tetteh founder Pure and Just Food, Ghana; and Marie Ange Mukagahima, owner of Zima Healthy, Rwanda.
The men category included Julio Chilela owner Agro Marketplace Kepya, Angola; Eloge Niyomwungere founder Best Food Solution, Burundi; Denish Ogwang, head of Fidena Agri Limited, Uganda; Noël N’guessan founder LONO, Côte d’Ivoire; and Idoko Nnaedozie owner Solaristique, Nigeria.
This year Generation Africa also recognized four Impact Award Winners selected from the 12 top-class finalists, with each receiving US$2,500.
The four included founders of Best Food Solution, Healthy Seaweed Company, LONO, and Maya Sarl.
For Burundi based Best Food Solution, it processes chillies into oil, powder, and dried chillies for local and export markets, while Tanzanian Healthy Seaweed Company is boosting the livelihoods for women seaweed farmers in Zanzibar and bringing the health benefits of seaweed home through local value-addition and the promotion of seaweed products as a sustainable food source.
Meanwhile, LONO designed an innovative system that helps farmers in Côte d’Ivoire to unlock value from organic waste through an easy-to-use biogas composting system and Senegalese Maya, partners with small-scale local farmers in Mali, to manufacture their proudly African sauces, spices, mixes, and dried fruits.
The fourth annual GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize reached nearly six million people during the entry window from 19 April to 6 June 2022.
Applications streamed in from 45 African countries with 10 countries represented amongst the Top 12 finalists.
The competition is undertaken in collaboration with industry leaders in the global and African agriculture sectors i.e., Yara International, Econet, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, AGRF, Corteva Agriscience, the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions, the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, Bayer, USAID, Heifer International, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and AfDB.