A twenty-six-year-old Ghanaian entrepreneur in the agricultural sector, Mr Isaac Sesi, is a co-winner of a “GoGettaz” Agripreneur Prize by the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF).
He won 50 per cent of the inaugural $100,000 prize by beating off competition from five finalists from other African countries in the male category.
In the female category, Ms Bonolo Monthes, from Botswana, walked home with the $50,000 prize.
The “GoGettaz” competition is the flagship project of Generation Africa, a broader partnership initiative, founded by Yara International, a global firm specialised in agriculture products and Econet Global, a telecommunications group to support young innovators in the agriculture sector.
Mr Sesi is the founder of Sesi Technologies Limited, an agricultural technology solutions company that tackles poverty and hunger by empowering farmers and businesses along the agriculture value chain.
The entrepreneur and engineer developed an affordable grain moisture control mechanism called: “Grainmate”, which helps to reduce post-harvest losses by making it easy for farmers to measure the moisture content of their produce.
He described the win as a major boost for his business, saying “this will definitely help me scale up and impact the lives of many more farmers and their families in Ghana and other parts of Africa.”
Ms Monthes’s company is called Maungo Craft, which started operations in 2017.
The company works with oil producers and communities to turn underused indigenous fruits of Botswana into gourmet low-to-no-sugar preserves.
With its slogan: “We put our culture in a bottle,” the company is helping to conserve the environment while adding value to local products.
A steadily growing company, Maungo Craft had also won the best in the food processing sector at Botswana’s youth business expo where it also received the ultimate prize as the agricultural products manufacturer of the year.
The “Generation Africa” was launched on May 30, this year, as a continental initiative to support and build the capacity of young and innovative entrepreneurs along the agriculture value chain.
Yara International and the Econet Group are jointly funding the initiative.
The campaign has so far reached 46 million young people across the continent since its launch on May 30.
Twelve finalists were selected from a pool of 3,000 online applicants from 39 African countries.
The 12 finalists were from Botswana, Cameroun, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
In the grand finale, they presented their projects at the Africa Green Revolution Forum held in Accra, Ghana. In determining the winners, the judges looked for creativity, originality, quality of execution along with environmental sustainability of their respective business ventures.
The President of Yara International ASA, Mr Svein Tore Holsether, lauded the efforts made by all the finalists.
He called for investment in the younger generation to help them deploy innovations to improve yields.
A former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, expressed appreciation to Yara and its partners for the efforts being made to empower the youth in the agricultural sector.
He called on African countries to prioritise investment in the sector to ensure the deployment of right technologies to improve productivity and food security.