By Murimi Gitari, December 7, 2022, Heifer International Kenya has announced the second edition of the AYuTe challenge Kenya chapter.
The AYuTe (Agriculture, Youth and Technology) Africa Challenge was launched last year to promote and reward agriculture technology innovation across different agricultural value chains.
Speaking during the Kenya Innovation week in Nairobi Agness Kavuthe, the Digitisation Manager at Heifer International Kenya said that the call for applications for the second edition will be announced soon which will be for the year 2023.
“We call upon the youth in our country who believe in themselves and have innovative ideas to get ready for the second edition of the AYuTe Africa Challenge, Kenya chapter starting next year,” she said.
The AYuTe Challenge, established in 2021 awards cash grants annually to the most promising young agritech innovators.
During the innovation week organized by Heifer International, Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) and other stakeholders, a side event by Heifer brought together some of last year’s finalists and the winner who did not hide their enjoy for the benefits they acquired through the programme.
The finalists were competitively selected through a rigorous judging process and got a chance to do their final pitching where three winners were selected.
The AYuTe competition offers prize money and mentorship, helping translate the energy and ideas of young Kenyan agri-tech innovators into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers across the country, and supporting winners to grow their business ideas.
Esta Kamau, Heifer International Kenya Country Director while addressing the finalists and the guests recognized the strides the organisation is making towards innovation in Africa and the involvement of the youth noting it is quite encouraging and promising for the agriculture sector.
“Being an innovator you need to be a little bit crazy by thinking out of the box. Their innovations require partnership for their success as an organisation (Heifer) we value partnering together by even seeing young agripreneurs from across the country come together with innovative ways of transforming the agri-sector,” the country director said.
Kavuthe also said that the call for application will be open to all young agripreneurs with innovative ideas and technologies for the agriculture sector. According to her, the application will also be open even to those that did not make it to the finalists last year but they still feel that their innovations have not grown since then or are still at the ideology stage.
Once picked, young innovators will be taken through a mentorship programme and training on how to access markets and grants for their starts up.
John Waweru, one of the founders at Optimerce Consulting, a business that digitises the process of produce collection at farm-gate through mobile apps, was named the winner of the competition in the first edition of the AYuTe Challenge last year getting a cash grant of Ksh 1 million.
RafikiPay a company that deals with the processing of sunflower, groundnuts, soya and canola oil from the hybrid seeds, emerged as the first runner-up, winning a cash grant of Ksh500, 000 while the second runner-up was Agrodiverse Ltd Kenya that converts insects, earthworms into sources of protein in animal feed and high-quality organic fertilisers, winning Ksh250, 000.
Heifer International introduced the award to promote affordable solutions in line with its goal of helping more than six million smallholder farmers in Africa to earn a sustainable living income. For a company to qualify it must have developed a tech solution to address smallholder farmer challenges with strong potential to scale to be considered for the award.