African agri-tech grows by 110%, gets more than $19m investment in 2 years
Investments in agriculture technology in Africa have seen $19-million invested in the past two years, with a new report showing agri-tech startups have grown 110% in the period.
There are 82 agri-tech startups operating across the continent at the start of this year, 52% of which started in the last 24 months, according to the Agrinnovating for Africa: Exploring the African Agri-Tech Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 report by Disrupt Africa.
Kenya and Nigeria both lead the agri-tech markets, followed by Ghana, and collectively account for over 60% active startups in the sector.
Although the report tracks annual startup activity in the agri-tech space since 2010, the authors say it began to boom in 2016, after which 43 new ventures were launched.
“The research shows that while Kenya was the early pioneer of the African agri-tech sector, accelerating interest in West Africa over the past two years means this region now dominates the market; and is home to two of the top three agri-tech ecosystems on the continent,” Disrupt Africa co-founder Tom Jackson said in a statement. ““Everyone knows how important the agricultural sector is across Africa, but until very recently it remained relatively untouched by tech innovators. That is suddenly changing as entrepreneurs and investors realize the scale of the challenges facing farmers, and spot opportunities to reach huge addressable markets.”
Fundraising grew 121% from 2016 to in 2017 alone.
“The scope for innovation in the agricultural sphere is vast – a refreshed take on the sector could unlock huge value for the whole of Africa,” says Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Nairobi-based Disrupt Africa. “Behind the scenes, there has been formidable acceleration in the agri-tech market recently, and it is one of the most interesting spaces to watch in Africa today.”.
Startups serving as eCommerce platforms to the industry have the largest share, accounting for 32.9% of total startups in the space. Other popular sub-sectors of the agri-tech space include information and knowledge sharing, and fintech solutions to farmers.