From Armenia to Tanzania: Solutions tackling challenges of the agricultural sector worldwide

November 5, 2021

Agriculture tends to be one of the most important contributors of world development. The agricultural challenges that we face every day are becoming more tense as we are trying to solve the problem of food, worldwide. According to the SDG Knowledge Hub’s article published on 6 August, 2020,  by 2050, the world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion putting the security of food supply at risk if using traditional agricultural methods.

Modern farms and agriculture operate differently than those that used to be a few decades ago. Today’s technology plays a major role in agriculture, creating opportunities for businesses to be more efficient, profitable, and scaled-up. Though agriculture and food systems have already changed significantly, they still need to adjust further in an evolving, always developing and tech-minded environment.

With that in mind, back in 2020, we initiated UNDP ImpactAim AgriTech Accelerator, designed to support science and technology-backed startups and budding entrepreneurs offering solutions to tackle challenges in the agricultural sector of Armenia and worldwide. 120+ applications from 21+ countries were received and Agrosoko was one of the winners of the AgriTech Accelerator.

Agrosoko, operates in Tanzania , with a goal to create a reliable marketplace bridging the gap between African farmers and large offtake buyers.  Now, as the founder of the startup Daniel Makobore mentions, the startup is achieving its first success, operating in Tanzania, Morogoro region which is a well-known farming region in Tanzania.

Agriculture is the main part of Tanzania’s economy. Almost 70 percent of the population live in rural areas, and almost all of them are involved in the farming sector. Challenges on the agriculture industry of Tanzania include climate change and the resulting droughts, floods, and agriculture temperature shocks, and a lack of agricultural technology

Daniel Makobore is a young entrepreneur from Tanzania with a passion for agriculture and a drive to uncover tech solutions that can be harnessed to uplift African societies.

-The idea of the startup came from a personal challenge as a maize farmer looking to find a market for my maize, I quickly realized that there was an extended chain of middle-men I had to deal with, lack of transparency and fairness in the market that puts a lot of pressure on the farmers, so I ventured to seek out ways the market can be structured to be more beneficial to the farmers using technology.     

With that in mind, Daniel decided to be one of the players of the farming ecosystem and envisioned a start-up that would unlock market opportunities for African farmers.

How Things Work?

The first step of the process is the digitization of 3rd party warehouses in rural areas. With the help of deployed management system they access data and visibility on the quantity and quality of grain stored by each farmer in different warehouses. Then, they share the data collected through the warehouse management system. Now, when the startup has the needed information, the next step is the collection of orders with buye specifications and getting into supply contracts with large offtakers. In the end, they facilitate the transaction between two sides, managing logistics and payments.

Agrosoko currently works with 113 farmers but gradually growing as the harvest seasons commence and 3 off-takers. They initially started with Rice, paddy, and maize but we are slowly expanding their selection to other grains and seeds based on market demand such as Sesame, Pigeon peas, and soybeans.

-We took the time to develop a solution tailor-made to fit into the supply chain seamlessly, we have been customer-centric throughout our whole journey continuously iterating our solution and we have worked hand in hand with stakeholders to develop a solution that is viable and beneficial to them.

ImpactAim Accelerator suggests Impact Measurement and Management (IMM) knowledge and capacity building track to address the impact needs of the selected tech and business ventures by helping them to build their impact models and learn how to measure, analyze, report and improve their impact performance, aligning it with the SDG goals.

The startup is currently at the seed stage aiming at further financial and operational sustainability.

*The Impact Measurement and Management track utilizes the ImpactAIM IMM SDG-alignment toolkit - ImpactStation, which supports the selected startups from capacity and needs assessment, gap analysis, identification of impact vision and strategy, followed with the design of Theory of Change (ToC) built on the business lean model, selection of relevant matrix (Impact-Output-Outcome-Impact model) and targets toward SDGs..