02 Dec

The Future Awards Africa Prize for Agriculture

OluwaFemi Aliu  (25)

Agritechnology is tricky because it doesn’t matter how vast and complex the technical system you have built to monitor, improve on and evaluate your ideas, they are often eventually executed or supervised by humans, and humans are predictable at best and downright hostile to ideas at the worst. Oluwafemi Aliu has been trying to find a balance between people and programmes since he started MyFarmBase, his organization that uses tech innovations to optimize the process of agriculture. He helps manage the West African operations of Blinkabi, a blockchain-based commodity training organization that farmers can access to receive and pay for international transactions.

Aliu has transmuted his passions into a business, providing answers to the challenges of post-harvest loss, monitoring farms at scale through the use of drones. Using AI and Robotics, MyFarmBase seeks to under the behaviour triggers behind unproductive behaviour in agriculture. He shares his knowledge through his online publications and digital e-books Smart Farming and his podcast, Agrolatest podcast has become a favourite for 10,000 listeners who routinely return to the podcast to listen to and digest Aliu’s latest failures, discoveries and challenges. We have 3 core staffs and 9 support staffs. Our core MVP is digital Agriculture, use of technology like blockchain, soilless technologies to produce food.

Aliu believes all these discordant concepts will eventually lead to a more access for students of agriculture, unsure of how ethical ways to go about it. MyFarmBase is also practising what it preaches by starting a farm of its own, 10 hectares in which maize cashew and Cocoa will be grown in 2019.

 

Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed Falalu  (28)

Rice is one of Nigeria’s diet staples. It is prevalent in the majority of our meals and has provided a source of nourishment for disadvantaged families relying on its abundance and price points. But the true dilemma is this, most of the rice Nigerians eat is grown, processed and imported from Asia, enriching the economies of these countries at the expense of our communities. The Federal Government has tried to intervene by creating incentives for farmers looking to produce rice indigenously and Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed Falalu of Falgates is taking this rare opportunity and spinning gold out of it.

Falgates is a company primarily dedicated to the growing, processing and milling of locally produced rice. Falgates rice milling facility is state of the art and capable of producing 5,000 metric tonnes of rice per annum, denting a large portion of the national rice demand. Falgates is also a massive employer of labour, engaging over 180 people scattered across Niger, Kaduna and Kebbi states, a massive growth from its inaugural 8 employees. Falalu and Falgates are revolutionizing the production of rice in Nigeria by removing the false perception that the country cannot provide at least some of its agricultural needs through an internal production cycle and turning over an impressive $450,000 in revenue.

 

Ayodele Sipasi Olalekan  (31)

In light of global concerns around climate change and the immediate and long-term damage unsustainable agricultural practices can wreak on the soil and ecosystem, it has become imperative that agropreneurs embrace environmental awareness and sustainability in their businesses and their farms. Ayodele Sipasi Olalekan founded L’Afrika integrated Farms and Project Ozone; a joint organization that is committed to providing sustainable options to small farmers. It has donated a cumulative total of 25,500 tree-seeds, fruits and vegetable seeds to farmers and families. It has also engaged children, youths, farmers and active citizens in its efforts to encourage sustainable agriculture through diverse environmentally supportive agricultural projects, reaching 4,030 people since its inception.

In recognition of Sipasi’s understanding of the prevailing circumstances and commitment to ending them through sustainable practices, the Federal Government invited Sipasi and L’Afrika Integrated Farms to participate in a project4 that educated Fulani and Hausa Herdsmen on contemporary agricultural practices that encourage sustainability and prove healthier for both the herders and their stock. He was also awarded a grant from the Pollination Project.

Ayodele’s work in agriculture is globally recognised and has won him a shortlist as one of the 23 Ambassador Walter Carrington fellows of the US Consulate in Nigeria, and he was invited to lead a team of four persons to run agricultural empowerment projects directly impacting 20 youths in Ikorodu, Lagos state. He was also invited to the G20 Summit in Germany to help develop the Berlin Charter on “Creating Opportunities for the Young Generation of the Rural World” where he strategically included Rural Youth Empowerment Strategy R-YES model to alleviate extreme poverty and hidden hunger across the rural parts of the world.

 

Jesse Osiobe (31)

Using tech to remove the middleman and connect farmers directly to their final consumer? Please sign us up. Jesse Osiobe has understood that many of the food-related problems we have in Nigeria are not as a result of poor yields but poor preservation between farm and shiny supermarket stall. He founded FarmKart, a Nigerian agrotech startup to address these concerns by intersecting Agriculture, technology and foreign and local investment. The FarmKart business does the primary job of finding the most viable agriculture based startup and funding ideas and advising prospect investors the best business in which to invest and expect tangible returns.

By immersing itself in the agricultural value chain, Osiobe has been able to properly study the pre-existing problems with food transportation which is usually done during the day and in the poorest of conditions for the crop. With two hectares of land and 7 staff on employ, Osiobe is able to test his theories on agriculture in relative real time and profer real solutions

Farmkart and Osiobe were nominated for the Nigerian Technology Awards, proving that contrary to our expectations, there are real and progressive options in agriculture for more than the average man.

 

Abdulfatah Sadiq (25) (Kaduna)

Northern Nigeria is drying up at an alarming rate. Some estimates suggest that the region loses up to 20 metres of arable land to erosion and desertification each year, a problem that can be slowed but ultimately presses the need for more sustainable alternative methods for cultivating crops and other agricultural activities. This is where Abdulfatah Sadiq comes in. As a 25-year-old Agricultural engineer in the Ahmadu Bello University faculty of agriculture, Sadiq has focused his education and expertise on Hydroponics, an alternative cultivation method that completely eliminates the need for any kind of soil to encourage crops to grow.

Sadiq has been able to apply his passion for and knowledge of hydroponics to create the regions first climate controlled animal fodder factory in the country that operates all through the year wasting no soil and thriving. Sadiq plants enough maize and wheat to produce 250 kg of fodder in ten days, as well as vegetable farming. Sadiq’s Farms are a pilot scheme whose success will encourage more itinerant farmers to embrace hydroponic farming, instead of attempting to conserve the environment by trying to create irrigation channels that are expensive and ultimately unsustainable..  Sadiq offers a much needed, timely solution to a perennial problem.

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