Ndahiro, Daniela Uwase and Kellyson Siamunjo,Three students from African Leadership University.
Through their passion for agriculture, they came up with a social enterprise known as ‘Agriculture Growth Network’. It helps small and medium scale farmers increase their productivity and quality, and connects them to profitable and potential markets.
The three students recently participated in the Hult Prize, an annual competition that took place in Ghana in March . They emerged overall winner of the Africa level which makes them representatives for Africa at the finals due to take place in London July 12, 2019.
The winners from the various continents will then compete for one million dollar cash prize as start-up for a business.
“We see this as an opportunity not only for Rwanda but for Africa in general; we believe we can grow to be a big scale solution for many communities,” Uwase says.
Talking about what got her started, Uwase says she was looking at two things—farmers and the youth.
“Since I had little knowledge from secondary education on the agriculture sector, it was easy to tap into the idea and come up with what to focus on exactly,” she says.
She says after doing some research and visiting farmers, she realised that there are many challenges they encounter, from planting to harvest, making them yield less.
And so they train some unemployed youth in the best agriculture practices and agribusiness, and link them to farmers to act as “agro monitors”.
They also help connect the farmers to people who help them get agricultural products at affordable prices.
Their aim is to create over 10,000 jobs for the unemployed youth and impact the lives of over 15,000 small and medium scale farmers in Africa by 2029.
The agricultural sector, Uwase says, doesn’t get as much attention as other sectors yet it’s the backbone of the country’s economy.
“My mission is to help farmers get what they need,” Uwase says.
The enterprise is already working with one cooperative comprising of 80 farmers in Bugesera District.
The platform also looks for the markets for the farmers, whereby, after selling the produce, shares are distributed between trainers, the company and the farmers.