Africa Business Communities
[Kenya] Strathmore University and AGRA launch agri-food innovation center 

[Kenya] Strathmore University and AGRA launch agri-food innovation center 

Kenya’s business school, Strathmore University and AGRA inked a partnership dubbed Strathmore Agri-Food Innovation Center (SAFIC), whose aim is to catalyze the transformation of food systems in Africa.

SAFIC is committed to co-designing evidence-based interventions that foster sustainable agricultural growth and innovation. This commitment extends to supporting actors in the agri-food system, including the national government, county government, private sector, and development partners. Unlocking agriculture’s full potential requires innovative, data-driven solutions and increased private sector involvement.

Addressing the participants, Strathmore’s Prof Wagura Ndiritu, Associate Professor and Director, Strathmore Agri-Food Innovation Center, said the launch of SAFIC seeks to enhance visibility throughout the entire agricultural value chain, spanning from production to market distribution.

“Additionally, a large proportion of agribusinesses in the region face several challenges related to business management, market access, accessing capital, and scaling. Central to SAFIC’s mission is the establishment of a Community of Practice (CoP) on Agri Markets Data for Investment & Growth (AMDIG). This collaborative platform will serve as a platform that facilitates knowledge sharing on data insights,” explained Prof Ndiritu.

AGRA President Dr Agnes Kalibata remarked that partnerships are the cornerstone of development. She lauded Strathmore Business School for acknowledging the importance of having data-driven solutions to bridge gaps in agribusiness. She highlighted AGRA’s previous work with various (14) universities across the continent to train MSEs and SMEs.  On behalf of the organisation, she also committed to partner with Strathmore to provide various services, like sharing data and support in research.

Furthermore, she encouraged the faculty to make use of AGRA’s various programmes that are dedicated to fostering innovation and collaboration in the agricultural sector. One such initiative is the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA), which provides a platform for businesses and governments to devise solutions tailored to the agricultural landscape.

She also referred to other programmes like the Dealroom, Youth Connect, and Value4Her which serve as invaluable resources for networking, mentorship, and empowerment within the agricultural community.

Strathmore University Vice Chancellor, Dr Vincent Ogutu, emphasised the need to seize the opportunity to revolutionise the food system in Kenya and across Africa.  As an African institution, Strathmore University is positioned to foster collaboration through SAFIC and transform data into practical solutions to address the continent’s food security challenges.

The key messaging for the event was “advocating for partnerships and evidence-based support, stressing the pivotal role of precision policies and credible data tailored to Africa’s diverse market demands.” Capacity building for SMEs is necessary to enhance market access and scalability, vital for the sector’s growth and prosperity.

Hon. Dr. Kanyuithia Mutunga, the Chair of the Agricultural Committee for the National Assembly and the keynote speaker remarked on the need for credible data to innovate. He emphasised the importance of efforts and policies to strengthen market linkages and stressed the urgent need for reliable data systems.

He acknowledged that a forum like SAFIC could provide a platform to facilitate informed decision-making in order to accelerate industrialisation as well as have the potential to drive transformation in agriculture. He stated that the national government would work with the SAFIC, to collaborate in data collection and dissemination, providing research and insights needed to drive agriculture in the country forward.

The launch of SAFIC marks a new beginning for African agriculture, characterised by collaboration, evidence-based decision-making and strategic partnerships. SAFIC is committed to empowering stakeholders and creating opportunities for innovation, to change global trends and promote sustainable growth and food security throughout the continent.



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