AgroConnect: CONNECTED FARMERS, CONNECTED FORTUNES

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Agriculture employs (engage) about 70% of rural people in Africa and contributes to national GDPs, Africa’s agriculture is still largely rudimentary, manual and subsistence. The continent has incredible potentials to grow her economy, bring development to her citizens, create jobs, engage her youth and truly evolve as the continent of the millennium if potentials available through agriculture could be tapped and explored. This is where technology, particularly information technology comes in. The big hurdle that Africa must cross to realize her true potentials in the agriculture sector is that of ACCESS. African farmers lack adequate access to technology, extension services, credit facility, knowledge, climate information services, capacity building, market information and infrastructure. The game changer for Africa therefore, is to address the question of access and information technology provides the best opportunity to achieve this in an effective, inclusive, equitable, timely and prudent way. More importantly, information technology will attract Africa’s young people, who are right said to be the greatest assets of the continent to Agriculture and change their perception and help them create the wealth that the is direly needed. So for us, we say, CONNECTED FARMERS, CONNECTED FORTUNES.

The Agroconnect platform would assist Agricultural scientists, farmers, policy makers, IT experts( programmers and application developers) ,in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, to thoroughly analyse problems facing the agricultural sector and possible mobile applications that can be built to solve them. The event would foster the collaboration between stakeholders, agricultural scientists and IT professionals.

The event would also enlighten agric scientists, and farmers on the relevance, prompt and immediate usefulness of these technology/apps to their market output and in fostering development of the agricultural sector, as means of enhancing an upwardly mobile Africa.

The session will answer these three critical questions:

  • What are the most critical challenges facing farmers especially small- scale farmers? This question seek to identify and analyse critical challenges including; inadequate extension services, vulnerability to climate change impact, postharvest lost, poor know-how and capacity/resource under-utilisation, inability to access credit, price volatility, poor market information and access, poor access to research information, poor storage, and low technology utilisation. We will analyze how these challenges discourage young people from getting involved in agriculture and the threat to food security and economic diversification.
  • What opportunities and possibilities do these listed challenges provide for Africa? Here we will establish a nexus between these challenges and potential opportunities to address the issues of extreme poverty, resource based conflicts, food security, job creation, economic growth and diversification and improvement of basic leaving conditions. How can entrepreneurs and young agro-prenuers explore these challenges to create wealth, create jobs and diversify African economies, increase local manufacturing and increasing export earnings?
  • How do innovative mobile solutions help in the transition from possibilities to reality? How do we explore mobile technologies to address the central problem of ACCESS. How can mobile technologies help to improve access to extension services, access to accurate and timely climate information services, access to knowledge, access to market information, access to credit opportunities? How do we bridge the digital divide between farmers and ICTs? How can young people get involved in the food value chain through mobile technologies? How do we make agriculture cool and techy?

Participants are expected to first show commitment to the cause, and their dedication to the development of the agricultural sector which will first be represented through their presence and active participation at the event and filling of an online registration form. Agricultural experts and stakeholders are also expected to present the various challenges they face or are likely to face in the process of executing the project at the event, and they could also suggest ways that these challenges might be resolved. Agricultural experts are expected to bring their experience and proffer solutions where possible to challenges discussed at the event. Also, the app developers are expected to bring their expertise, ideas and knowledge in the IT field as contribution to the development of the agricultural sector.

 

SPEAKERS

 

Arigbabu Sulaimon

Executive Director and Head, Environment and Sustainable Development Programme
HEDA Resource Centre

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Arigbabu Sulaimon is a Social Engineer, an environmental, food and climate justice advocate. Though with a a background in Chemistry Education, Sulaimon has studied Environment, Human Rights as we as public Policy and International Affairs at the Post Graduate level .He is currently the Executive Director and Head, Environment and Sustainable Development Programme at HEDA Resource Centre, a NGO he co-founded 13 years ago. He is also the Managing Partner at HGS Limited an Environmental Systems Management company, and also the lead consultant at DUE Advantage International, a Research, Training and Enterprise Development Consultancy. Sulaimon’s work cut across Environmental Management, Biodiversity Conservation and Protection, Sustainability Systems, Agriculture and Food Security, as well as Governance and Accountability.

Sulaimon is skilled in policy design and advocacy, campaigns, behavioral change management and capacity building. He participates in policy discussions, debate and advocacy at the International, regional, national and local levels. He is committed to clean, safe and just physical, social, political and economic environment

 

Jehiel Oliver
Founder at Hello Tractor

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As a global economic development professional, Jehiel brings a unique blend of skills acquired from his over 10 years of professional service within the international development and global financial sectors. In his current role as founder of Hello Tractor, a tractor rental social enterprise, Jehiel is working to provide affordable agricultural machinery to marginalized farm communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to Hello Tractor, Jehiel worked at Aya Consulting, a boutique consultancy he founded focusing on the agriculture, micro, small and medium enterprise industries. His projects included program reviews, financial due diligence, transaction execution for socially responsible investors and agricultural value chain finance. At Aya he worked in over ten countries, including conflict zones.

Jehiel also serves on the board of H4H, Inc., a $250 million dollar social impact investment fund focused on mortgage reinsurance for South African communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Jehiel also sits on the board of Shared Interest, serving as treasurer and executive committee member. Shared Interest is a loan guarantee fund that has benefited over 2 million marginalized persons to date through its work in the microfinance and agricultural sectors of South Africa and Mozambique.

Prior to working in international development, Jehiel served as an analyst and associate with Key Banc Capital Markets. Within this organization he worked within the Institutional Capital, Private Equity, Debt Syndications and Upper Middle Market business divisions.

Specialties: Microfinance, SME, Agriculture, Development, Value Chains, Real Estate, Private Equity, Syndicated Finance, Corporate Finance, Financial Modeling, Credit Underwriting, Financial Due Diligence

 

 Yusuf Bilesanmi

Mitsubishi Corporation

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Yusuf is rich in experience having a diverse multicultural and multidisciplinary background. He started out his tertiary education in Nigeria at the Department of Law, Lagos State University in 2000 and moved to Japan in 2006 based on his interest in Information Technology. He did a BSc in Information and Communications Technology at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University and streamlined his interest in Green IT, his undergraduate research work focused on power management for IT enabled classrooms in Japan. He later moved to Waseda University’s Graduate School of Global Information and Telecommunications Institute in 2010 where he focused his research work on Smart Grid Solutions.
While at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, he set up a student program titled – Creativity in Technology in collaboration with the University’s President (President Cassim Monte) to enable students turn class based teaching into societal innovations. The program focused on IT, Media, Arts and Sustainable Environmental Solutions. When he moved to Waseda he set up an African Student Project titled- Engineering for Africa, where he brought together African researchers in Japan to design solutions that were suitable to Africa which later served as a technology transfer platform between Japan and Africa.
Yusuf started his career quite early with Microsoft Japan in 2008 as an MSP. In 2009 he worked with a Wind Energy Manufacturing company in Japan (A-Wing International Ltd.) to lead their business operations in Nigeria and South Africa. In 2010, he served as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Coldwell Banker Japan (Real Estate) where he managed legal affairs, company relations (New Jersey-Japan) and developed business strategies for the Japanese market. 2012 He returned to Nigeria to work with Panasonic Nigeria where he managed the Market and Life Research Department and later moved to B9 Technologies Ltd where he served as Business Operations Manager and focused on Energy and IT Business Development. Presently Yusuf is working with Mitsubishi Corporation leading business operations in Nigeria.
Yusuf is happily married with a Son. He enjoys photography, hiking and travel. His interests are centered around development of smart cities and global business.

 

Elaine Ugeh 

Business Analyst
Doreo Partners 

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Prior to joining Doreo, Elaine worked as a Research Analyst at the Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (KCSPOG) where she participated in creating models on Kenya’s expected oil revenues that were in turn used to inform civil society and government on advocacy and policy making in Kenya’s extractives industry. She presented her undergraduate thesis entitled “Adopting Derivative Instruments in Managing Drought Catastrophic Risk for Large Scale Farmers in Kenya” at the Global Development Finance Conference held on the 3rd of September in Dubai. Her thesis received positive feedback on the urgency for innovative products in development finance that provide solutions to food security and poverty alleviation.

 

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