Africa economy – In Africa, start-ups looking for solutions to guarantee food sovereignty

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With the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine, food sovereignty for African countries has become a priority. How can the continent’s land be best used without relying on increasingly expensive imports and energy? This is one of the questions that was on the menu at the summit of start-up between Africa and Europe, the Emerging Valley show, which was held on November 28 in Marseille. On the spot, the entrepreneurs put forward different avenues.

In Senegal, Mouhamadou Kebe created a platform a year ago to help 80,000 farmers better plan and limit their water and fertilizer expenses. Her start-up Tolbi collects a whole bunch of weather data using satellite images and artificial intelligence. With spectacular results…

Farmers need to be able to equip themselves with platforms, so that they can know that today I have to put in more water because in a week, it won’t be raining. And the day after tomorrow, it will rain so I have to reduce my inputs, fertilization and irrigation. So the impact we have on the ground in relation to farmers is reductions in water use of 50 to 80 %. The decrease in fertilizer losses by 30 %. »

And by watering the fields less, we also have better harvests. ” If you only give the plant what it needs in terms of production, you actually have a 30% increase. % yield. »

Fertilize crops through fish farming

Another idea to reduce dependence on fertilizers, the prices of which have exploded, is rice-fish farming. Clearly, we use fish droppings to fertilize the rice fields. Valérie Verdier is the president of the Research Institute for Development, which is piloting this project in several countries.

You have basins that are reserved for rice. And so, at some point, we open channels that allow the fish to go to the rice cultivation and which will therefore amend the soil and thus contribute to improving the rice cultivation. In Madagascar, we have very interesting results of yields which have seen an increase in their harvests. These are farms where there is no fertilizer at all other than that which is provided naturally by the raising of fish. »

Successfully distribute investment projects

The start-up are attracting more and more investors, but that will not be enough to guarantee their success, warns Mareme Dieng of the Californian investment fund 500 Global.

There is money to finance ideas, and to finance project promoters. There is a great growth of venture capital, especially in Africa, it is really the first stage of the problem. But if we can’t distribute these projects, if we can’t keep them, if we can’t sell them… We’ll find ourselves in the same situation as at present, which is a lack of sovereignty. eating. »

The urgency for this investor specializing in Africa is therefore to bet on logistics companies, e-commerce or even innovative payment systems.

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Africa economy – In Africa, start-ups looking for solutions to guarantee food sovereignty

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