Food sovereignty for African countries, exacerbated by the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine, has now 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 of the start-up summit between Africa and Europe, the Emerging Valley fair, which was held on November 28, 2022 in Marseille, France. On the spot, the entrepreneurs put forward different avenues.
Mouhamadou Kebe in Senegal, for example, created a platform a year ago to help 80,000 farmers better plan and limit their water and fertilizer expenses. His 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 the farmers is a reduction in water use of 50 to 80%. The decrease in fertilizer losses by 30%”, explained Mr. Kebe
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 in 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.
“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 more fertilizer at all other than that which is provided naturally by fish farming”, underlined Valérie Verdier, president of the Research Institute for Development which is piloting this project. in many countries.
Successfully distribute investment projects
Agricultural start-ups 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 leaders. 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 food sovereignty.” .
The urgency for this investor specializing in Africa is therefore to bet on logistics companies, e-commerce or even innovative payment systems.
Moctar FICOU / VivAfrik
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Food sovereignty: Start-ups looking for solutions in Africa – VivAfrik – News
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