Some opportunities, such as those found in agriculture are too big to be fully addressed by one entity. This means there is a real possibility of several successful and sustainable niche service implementations pegged on tech. The key is to understand the market, thrash out the business model and build scalable tech that degrades gracefully if the environment so dictates. Agricultural initiatives still form the bedrock of many African economies and despite the push by many governments to increase the contribution to GDP by service and extractive industries, agriculture will forever remain core to growth and development and achieving other goals and objectives that a country may have.
So where can one play in this large ecosystem?
1 – Information Curation, Sanitization, Indexing and distribution
Our research institutions are choke full of information and data on how drive productivity per square foot whether invested in crop, fish or livestock farming. Unfortunately, the format and lingo of this information is often unpalatable to those who need it most. There is a opportunity to curate, digest and index this knowledge and provide multiple access channels for consumption.
Recent quail fever is indicative that market analysis on the level that is given at the bourse for listed companies is lacking. We operate on word of mouth running the risk of creating bubbles that will leave many in the red once markets crash. Who has the real-time pulse on market demand, down to pricing and is able of forecast it and therefore orchestrating supply?
2 – Financial services
Access to capital remains a challenge to the small holder farmer; not that they epitomize poverty but more that they live of the land and are not quite represented in the mainstream financial system. There are ways to calculate both the value and risk to allow for financial support to trickle down and make a difference at the grass root level. Think insurance plus product and service fronting.
3 – Devices
Somewhat sidelined in agriculture, as focus has mainly been on text based deployments, the increased utility of smart enough devices could tip the scales of productivity and food security. We unfortunately do not do enough to up sell, demystify and make the technology affordable to the millions of smallholder farmers. Leasing and linkages are the key words here.
While I have not gone granular on the opportunities, hopefully you can build on them. I am happy to engage in discussion over time and deep dive into each as I have given them all quite a bit of thought and experimented as well. I have also haemorrhaged capital in my green attempt at working the land. The experience had me do a take two and consider if its the gumboots I really wanted. You do not have to be a farmer to earn from the land as all the above offer rich pickings for those who will apply themselves and leverage technology to deliver value.