Three young agric-tech innovators in Nigeria have emerged final winners of this year’s Agriculture, Youth and Technology (AYuTe) Africa Challenge Nigeria, an enterprise development program initiated by Heifer International to identify, nurture, and support innovative, relevant, and technology-driven agric-centric enterprises that grow, scale and help smallholder farmers to thrive in Africa.
Announcing the winners in Lagos on Wednesday, at the Grand Finale of the keenly contested challenge that saw well over 600 entries, the Country Director, Rufus Idris said the newly introduced annual challenge in Nigeria serves as a springboard for identifying outstanding young agritech innovators, as well as assisting in the formation of strong partnerships. As a result, the competition will increase visibility for growth and improve smallholder farmers’ productivity.
The Managing Director, Soupah Farm-en-MarketLimited, Ifeoluwa Olatayo, emerged the grand prize winner for the maiden edition of AYuTe’s competition in Nigeria, having met all requirements to get the topmost position.
She got $10,000 grants as the overall best at the conclusion of Heifer Africa AYuTe’s Challenge to expand her business initiatives in the agriculture value chain.
The second runner’s -up, Rejoice Usim, the Chief Executive of Simkay Foods Limited, got $6,000, while Stephen Obe, the CEO of Evet Technology got $4,000 grants to emerge the third place winner.
“I encourage other youth techies to look for those problems within the agriculture industry and solve them with the use of technology to scale faster and grow bigger”,
“The grant will majorly be a benefit to our local farmers. It will also create a supply chain system for them in terms of purchase, storage and selling in a way that it makes them make higher profits than they are making at the moment” she said.
The national competition represents a new phase of Heifer International’s AYuTe Africa Challenge, established in 2021 to award cash grants annually to the most promising young agritechinnovators from across Africa.
Like the Regional Champions competition, the AYuTe National Champions competition offers prize money and mentorship, helping translate the energy and ideas of young Nigerian agritech innovators into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers across the country, and supporting winners to grow their businesses and profile.
“More than half of our population consists of young people and with inflation skyrocketing, fueled mainly by food inflation, we’ll need the youths with energy, tech-savvy, and entrepreneurial skills that can be channeled to