Heifer International has launched a national ‘AYuTe Challenge’ —a competition that will offer young entrepreneurs across Uganda an opportunity to pitch for investment in Agri-tech solutions to boost the incomes and productivity of Africa’s smallholder farmers. The 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 Agri-tech innovators from across Africa.
“This competition provides an opportunity for young innovators in Uganda to secure the funding and visibility they need to scale up their Agri-tech solutions to reach millions of farmers across Africa,” Senior Vice President of Africa Programs at Heifer International, Adesuwa Ifedi told journalists at a press briefing held at Heifer International head offices in Kampala.
Ifedi noted that there is huge potential for economic growth and employment in agriculture across Africa, but new ideas and technologies are urgently needed. “It’s time for Africa’s tech-savvy youth to use their innovation skills to transform the sector,” he said.
Like the Regional Champions competition, the AYuTe National Champions competition will offer funds and mentorship, helping translate the energy and ideas of young Ugandan Agri-tech innovators into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers across the country, and supporting winners to grow their businesses and profile.
The Country Director, Heifer International Uganda, William Matovu said, Uganda has a high literacy rate of 76.53% and is one of the youngest populations globally, which augurs well for the success of their AYuTe Africa Challenge.
“We appeal to all youth across the country to get involved in the agribusiness competition with innovative solutions to critical challenges of the smallholder farmers in the agricultural sector,” remarked Matovu. “We look forward to receiving brilliant innovations that can improve agricultural productivity.”
The Minister of State for National Guidance Hon. Godfrey Kabbyanga Baluku said the launch of the AYuTe Africa Challenge in Uganda is timely because it is in line with the National ICT Initiatives Support Programme (NIISP) to facilitate an ICT Innovation ecosystem and marketplace for Ugandan innovative digital products.
“Specifically, the AYuTe Africa Challenge is in line with one of the key objectives of the program; to promote ICT products, services, and solutions for improved service delivery,” said Kabbyanga.
In her remarks, the Assistant Commissioner of Information and Communication, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Ms. Acayo Consolata said, more than ever, the government recognizes the need to bring innovation by young Ugandans to the agriculture scene. She further noted that the government is committed to any initiatives that will help boost Uganda’s agriculture sector (which is the backbone of Uganda’s economy) and lead to the creation of jobs across the agricultural value chain.
Smallholder farmers in Uganda contribute 65% of the agricultural workforce. The AYuTe Africa Challenge, therefore, seeks to catalyze this demographic through innovation in agricultural technology that will narrow the productivity gap (Uganda’s solid yields operate at less than 40% of its attainable potential).
How to Participate in the AYuTe Africa Challenge
Step 1: Record a two-minute video in an MP4 format with clear audio introducing yourself and demonstrating how your innovation works, what problem it seeks to solve, how it can potentially translate into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers across the country, and how much money you would need to bring it to life.
Step 2: Upload your TWO-MINUTE VIDEO HERE or post it on Twitter or Facebook tagging Heifer International Uganda using #AYuTeChallengeUg. Alternatively, you can send your video to a WhatsApp number +256 (0) 781 608488.
The AYuTe Africa Competition Uganda Edition call for participation will run from June 16th to July 14th, 2022.
Step 3: The most eligible submissions will be shortlisted to participate in a televised pitching show and will be selected to be aired on NTV.
Over UGX100 million will be shared amongst the winners. The overall winner will be crowned The AYuTe Africa Challenge Uganda Champion and will receive UGX50 million while the 1st and 2nd runner-up will receive UGX30 million and UGX15 million respectively. In addition, Heifer International will hand out two consolation prizes for UGX2.5 million.
On top of the prize money, 20 Agri-tech innovators will have premium access to Famunera Digital Export Marketplace for 12 months.