AgriQ & Automations Start-up Company currently being incubated at the JKUAT Industrial park won the Kenya Innovation Challenge, September 21, 2018. The challenge dubbed ‘Future of Agribusiness’ was organised by Meet the Farmers Conference (MTFC) and saw AgriQ and Automations trounce Agrifor, Dophia, Agronomy Plus and Vinis start-up companies to bag the crown. MTFC is an initiative of Crenov8, a leading conglomerate consulting & Digital Media firm in the Middle East, Dubai, and Africa.
MTFC Challenge is designed to promote ground-breaking ideas for early stage agro entrepreneurs from all sectors of the agriculture ecosystem using creative and innovative methods to change the landscape of the agriculture value chain in Africa.
During the conference, AgriQ & Automations pitched their Makaaridi Cooler, an automated solar-powered evaporative cooler that offers a convenient, affordable and efficient way of extending the shelf-life of perishable farm produce in off-grid areas. The innovation evaluated by top-notch entrepreneurs, investors and industry leaders across Africa, carried the day based on its novelty, originality, and viability of its ideas.
Dennis Chang’ach, one of the CEO and Co-founder of AgriQ & Automations, said the conference gave them a great opportunity to highlight the plight of post-harvest loss among smallholder farmers.
“Post-harvest losses are a major setback in Africa’s agricultural sector resulting to the loss of about 45% of the produce harvested. The situation is even worse for fruits and vegetables because of their high perishability,” stated Chang’ach.
According to Chang’ach, the magnitude of post-harvest loss is made more apparent based on the fact that some unscrupulous middlemen buy the produce from farmers after harvesting at throw-away prices as they are desperate to avoid total loss.
With their Makaaridi innovation, AgriQ & Automations will now compete for USD 5,000 grant prize at the international MTFC set to be held in Dubai from November 4-5, 2018. The two-day conference is an all-expense paid trip to Dubai for the Grand Finale of the challenge and provides a platform to get funding and interact with experts and mentors in the business of Agriculture.
Apart from Chang’ach, AgriQ & Automations was co-founded by Denis Githinji and Edgar Kitui. The trio, JKUAT alumni, have two other innovations namely; WabaBot, an irrigation system that minimizes water wastage while providing sufficient water to crops and ShambaBora, a farming system that optimizes the productivity of any farm land by optimizing space utilization. Their mission is to provide innovative agri-tech solutions to smallholder farmers around Africa, with an aim of creating meaningful impact.