Archived Webinar

Digital Ag Series - Revolutionizing the Resilience of Smallholder Farmers through Digital Agripreneurs in Africa

"Leveraging the power of rural youth as the last-mile change agents through a Public Philanthropy Private Platform (PPPP) model to transform the agri-food sector at scale."

KUZA’s OneNetwork is an ecosystem platform with a human user interface (youth Agripreneurs) offering high-quality bundled services to smallholder farmers to increase their productivity and income.

KUZA has taken a holistic, long-term systemic approach to identify and incubate rural youth through its Rural Entrepreneur Development Incubators (REDI) as Agri-entrepreneurs and become members of OneNetwork, KUZA’s digital marketplace. Agripreneurs provide personalized digital extension services to their farmers using specially designed portable digital kits, dramatically reducing the upskilling and networking costs, making them accessible even in the off-grid areas. Working alongside 4,000 youth Agripreneurs and 600,000 smallholder farmers, KUZA’s OneNetwork is creating sustainable economic opportunities for all agriculture ecosystem actors. KUZA’s work has impacted over 6.0 million people and created 153,321 new jobs across Africa and Asia.

Sriram Bharatam, Founder & Chief Mentor, KUZA One, talks about the challenges of smallholder farmers and how KUZA is leveraging the power of rural youth as the last-mile change agents providing trusted relationships between smallholders and service providers through a Public Philanthropy Private Platform (PPPP) model to transform the agri-food sector at scale.

About the Presenters

Parmesh Shah

Global Lead, Data-Driven Digital Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank

Parmesh Shah is the Global Lead for Data-Driven Digital Agriculture at the World Bank. He provides leadership to Bank’s work in these areas and supports the development of global knowledge and learning in these areas to offer solutions to clients and other development partners. His current areas of interest are making markets and public services work for the poor, social entrepreneurship, digital and data-based innovations in agriculture and rural development, climate-smart agriculture, agriculture and technology-enabled start-ups, venture and patient capital for innovation, promotion of on-farm, off-farm, and digital jobs and public-private and people partnerships for rural poverty reduction. He is currently involved in developing a global program on scaling up data-driven digital agriculture involving data platforms and establishing ecosystems for innovation, entrepreneurship, and incubation. He holds a D Phil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a B Tech degree in Agricultural Engineering from Pantnagar in India.

Nadi Albino

Deputy Director for Partnerships, Generation Unlimited, UNICEF

Nadi Albino has over 20 years of experience in international development. She has been working intimately in the fields of Education, Youth, Early Childhood Development (ECD), policy development/analysis, and much of the social sector. Ms. Albino has gained proven competencies in programming, program management, coordination, and delivery in collaboration with the government and the private sector globally. She has an in-depth perspective on African development issues, a strong track record of advancing gender equality, and has worked in fragile, post-conflict, and emergency environments. She is currently the Deputy Director of Partnerships for UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited and was the UNICEF Representative in Lesotho until the end of March 2019. Ms. Albino has worked in various capacities with girls/women, youth, and children, making her a flexible and proactive team player. She demonstrates strong collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills - valuable attributes for any team. She is politically astute, contributing to ‘big picture’ transformation in development interventions. Ms. Albino holds a Doctor of Education (University of Fort Hare); with post-graduate qualifications in Education and Change Management (University of Sussex), Policy Development and Analysis (University of Maastricht), Managing Education Sector Reform (World Bank Institute), Business Administration and General Management (Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) and Conflict Resolution/Management (University of Birmingham).

Sriram Bharatam

Founder and Chief Mentor KUZA.One

Sriram Bharatam, a leading serial and social entrepreneur, is the Founder and Chief Mentor at KUZA.One.  He is committed to supporting youth, women, and micro-entrepreneurs from the low-middle-income countries (LMIC) by creating opportunities to learn, connect, and grow at scale on their own terms and pace. To mobilize public, private & philanthropy sectors as a system, address complex challenges and opportunities across sectors (health, agriculture, WASH), Sri uses digital platforms and exponential technologies that facilitate economic activities and accelerate problem-solving. His initiatives have impacted over 6.0 million youth and created 153,321 new jobs across Africa and South Asia. Over the past 25 years, Sri has been recognized for his private/public sector contributions with awards such as EO Global Citizen of the year, Kauffman Award for Social Entrepreneurship, Unreasonable FUTURE fellow, and Randi Carrol award. Sri has a Bachelors’ degree in Mechanical Engineering,  an MBA in International Business from Maastricht, an Executive Education in Entrepreneurship from MIT, and has completed the Global Leadership Academy program from Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

Jeehye Kim

Senior Agriculture Economist, Agriculture, and Food Global Practice, The World Bank

Jeehye is a Senior Agricultural Economist at the World Bank where she leads and carries out World Bank missions to client countries where digital agricultural projects and pilots have been identified and ready to be rolled out, specifically in the Africa region. Her work includes advising WB’s client to use digitally-enabled approaches to increase their agricultural projects’ success in sustainable and scalable ways.  Applications include mobile-enabled agriculture extension services, mobile money, e-vouchers for agricultural inputs, market price and weather information systems, as well as applications to help smallholder farmers’ access to markets and services. She also builds relationships with industry leaders, executives, development partners, and stakeholders to advance disruptive and digital agricultural technology initiatives, in support of World Bank projects in client countries. Prior to joining the World Bank in 2011, Jeehye worked in both the public and the private sector in Korea and the U.K., respectively. In the private sector, she built expertise in consulting for the high-tech and telecom sectors, as well as electronic commerce and e-government. Jeehye holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics from the University of Glasgow.

Dr. Gachara John

County Project Coordinator, Kirinyaga County, World Bank NARIGP Program, Kenya

Dr. Gachara holds a Ph.D. in Education and currently serves as the World Bank’s NARIGP Programme coordinator in Kirinyaga county, Kenya. Dr. Gachara has been instrumental in adopting the Agripreneurship model to transform agricultural extension services and leading the county in the adaptation of the youth-led sustainable digital extension system. Dr. Gachara has been a public servant for the last 24 years, starting his public service career as a high school teacher (for Physics and Chemistry) and rising through the ranks to become the Director in County Government of Kirinyaga after serving in various positions in the public field services. As a Director of Technical and Vocational Education, he undertook extensive reforms in devolving vocational education to county government, including reforming management of the institutions, introduction of artisan courses in vocational Centres, re-introduction of home craft training, and development of county education act among other reforms. As a Director of the Directorate of Environment and Natural Resources, he has been instrumental in restructuring the sector and enhancing its performance through improved tree planting programs, river riparian and county forests protections. He has also been serving as a coordinator of the Wezesha Kirinyaga Programme, a multi-sectoral initiative by the County Govt of Kirinyaga, to transform rural livelihood through agriculture, health, infrastructural development, and other social intervention. In short, Dr. Gachara is an Academician with an Innovative & Entrepreneurial mindset who actively has been promoting the cause of rural Agripreneurship & digital transformation at the public sector scale.

Robert Mwangi

Youth Agripreneur, Nakuru, Kenya  

Robert, a 30-year-old economics and statistics graduate from the University of Nairobi, got into agriculture by choice and lack of opportunities. His enterprising nature and attitude allowed him to get incubated by the Kuza REDI program. His insights and knowledge from his mentors and peers motivated him to start a social enterprise, Bee My Partner, in partnership with six other youth from his community to reduce production costs and increase agricultural productivity. Robert and the team are producing organic farm inputs and leveraging the network of other youth Agripreneurs to distribute their products to over 1,000 smallholder farmers across six value chains.

Questions Submitted

Ki

- Mar 22, 2022
good

AMJAD

- Mar 22, 2022
great

Mohammad Nadir

- Mar 6, 2022
Excellent!
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