In our efforts at 249Startups to generate information , data and opportunities in Sudanese markets , We have launched series of forums where we will be hosting experts, Corporate executives and entrepreneurs to detect challenging areas and market gaps, and identify what opportunities lie within it, and to provide market insights and know-how on approaching specified subjects. In this series , we will be having experts and specialists to present their ideas, solutions, and also their vision for the future of Sudan in terms of Technology.
The Technology Incubation Program is implemented in both Sudan & Rwanda and funded by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) , Korea-Africa Economic Coorporation and Enable youth program , which aims to develop and promote the use of technology in agriculture. In sudan The program Implemented by Frankfurt School for Finance and Management and 249Startups, and our private sector partners CTC Group, Nile Bank, and the Federation of Chambers of Agriculture and Animal Production.
And, with the call for applicants for the Technology Incubation Program is live we are considering how the upcoming program cohort can address these challenges as well as the needs of the country in agriculture sector.
This is done with the aim of equipping the participants with explicit knowledge about the identified markets and widen their horizons by communicating the different opportunities which lie within them, and try to direct them towards working in areas that are currently a priority for government , development & private sectors .Additionally, encourage the participants to develop solutions to address the identified challenges and gaps in the industry.
Second Forum : Climate Smart Agriculture Forum
In our second forum presented by 249Startups titled ” Climate-Smart Agriculture ” webinar; as one of the discussion topics regarding the Technology Incubation Program. In this session we were pleased to have:
-Ayman Hamdi, General Director, Bluebell Multi-activities.
-Haytham Gallabi, Technology solutions sales professional and technology advocate.
-Deya Alshammry, Projects Manager (Technical, Budgeting, and Planning).
-Dr. Balgis Osman-Elasha, Regional Coordinator, Climate change and Green Growth Expert, North Africa African Development Bank.
-Nisreen Elsaim, General coordinator for Youth and Environment – Sudan (YES) platform. and Chair of Sudan Youth Organization on Climate Change (SYOCC).
-Mohamed Kamal Ibrahim, Managing partner of Unifert for Agricultural Activities.
-Waleed Alketyabi, CEO & Cofounder of DAAM Projects Development Co, Ltd.
As the session will be moderated by Hasna Abdelwahab, Corporate Sustainability & Social Impact Manager at Haggar Group.
The discussion topic was around Climate Smart Agriculture sector and its role in Economic Development as an important and essential factor. This webinar is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn about the opportunities available in these paths. Watch the full webinar and reach the summary of discussion points .
The Technology Incubation Program is an initiative of the African Development Bank Group in Sudan and Rwanda, which aims to develop and promote the use of technology in agriculture. The program is implemented by 249Startups and Frankfurt School for Financial and Management, with private sector partners represented by CTC Group, Nile Bank, and the Federation of Chambers of Agriculture and Animal Production.
Climate-smart agriculture works towards raising productivity, providing solutions for the farmers to face climate change and sustain their businesses, as well as reducing the greenhouse gas emissions .
15 million is the number of people working in agriculture in Sudan . The main source of greenhouse emissions in Sudan is land use and forestry 60% of green gas emissions occur from agriculture .
Climate-smart agriculture will help in resilience and adaptation against climate change. Climate-smart agriculture is not new to farmers here in Sudan and in many other places around the world, it’s known in the form of traditional practices that work towards increasing the productivity of the land, and reducing the risk of natural phenomena such as droughts.
One of these practices is agroforestry or the shifting cultivation. An example of this method is the practice of growing acacia (Hashab) trees or Gum Arabic plants in the land where it stabilizes the soil and provides nutrients and nitrogen, so it maximizes the productivity of the land. When the trees are mature the farmer will shift to another land and repeat the same process.
With such knowledge and experiences, if farmers in Sudan found the technical support and the required financing the Sudanese farmer can adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to statistics, 80% of Sudan agricultural production comes from small farmers, while only 20% is provided by big farmers, and both of them face challenges .
There is a lack of infrastructures such as fuel, electricity, transportation, and ports. These challenges distracted the companies and producers from focusing on productivity. If these basics were provided to big producers it will help them increase their productivity and most importantly, support small producers and the surrounding local communities. Infrastructure affects productivity by depriving the producers of their production inputs, which also affects the exports.
From another perspective, these challenges can be seen as opportunities, the solution is in IT, not necessarily the equipment rather the mentality, like the corporations between all the people involved in the production process from the farmers to the exporters. But most importantly there must be regulations for these corporations, as well as a national platform for all the people in the agricultural and animal production chain to share information and make smart partnerships and establish corporations.
What agriculture need in this age is information, and technologies are what provides this information, the accurate data helps in making better decisions, which results in increasing productivity through predicting the climate or monitoring the watering through sensors planted on the ground and other technologies, and it also helps with connecting the small farmers with their providers or mentors and linking all the people involved in the production chain together.
The main challenge facing the use of technologies is the lack of regulations that organise the use of these technologies. Also, there’s a huge lack of benchmark data that can be used as a reference for startups in this field.
The main purpose of using technologies is
- Collect data .
- Annalise the data collected .
- Optimise productivity through the information provided by the data analysis .
The traditional farmers are the most people who recognize and are affected by climate change, but it’s the youth’s role to educate them about it and to give them the knowledge and tools to adapt to this change and sustain their businesses. It’s also, youth responsibility to create new, easy and innovative solutions to contact these farmers in the first place and to deliver the information and help them in applying climate-smart agriculture technologies by simplifying it. And it’s very important to involve them in the invention of solutions .
Farmers can use satellites to monitor their lands and have accurate data about the land used and monitor the crops. Airbus, for example, developed three systems in 2020 for agriculture and forestry that can provide information about the crop, the diseases that might affect it, the water needs, and the amount of nitrogen needed, among other features.
Those technologies, when used in western Europe, saved 10% of the inputs and increased income and productivity by 15%. In Sudan we have huge losses in inputs as well as low productivity, if these technologies were given to farmers, the savings would be higher than this. Satellites work in not only monitoring, but it also helps with the scale of management and provides offseason reports.
Sanctions on Sudan is one of the challenges that stand in the face of finding financial support for agricultural projects. However, finance is not a big problem, it can be accessed through donors from inside and outside Sudan. There’s also contract farming which is a partnership between farmers and big companies.
Smart agriculture is not only about production but about efficiency in the process to reduce losses. 20% of the grains and 40% of vegetables and fruits production is lost due to lack of efficiency.
Examples of projects
- Water security projects, because a high percentage of agriculture in Sudan is rain-fed, and climate change is going to affect the rain frequency and patterns .
- Access to clean energy, solar pumping or solar panels .
- Growing crops that have a high tolerance and ability to adapt to climate change .
This Article had been developed by 249Startups Team for purpose of learning and sharing knowledge as part of Markets Opportunities Mapping Forum .