Name: Flo Mosoane
Country: South Africa
Organization: FoodMakers Africa
Flo is a South Africa based Agripreneur and Agrifood startup Developer. She is the founder and host of We Back Agripreneurs, a podcast that tells stories of the tech that supports small scale agriculture. She is also a founder at Food Makers Africa, which is the country convener for Future Agro Challenge in South Africa.
Flo operates and mentors business in agrifood and small scale business development. Her mission is to mobilize the Agrifood innovation ecosystem to achieve some of the most pressing UN SDGs and effect sustainable development in Africa.
I have been a small scale farmer for a few years now, and I was involved in the startup ecosystem as a COO at a different global competition which covers over 15 different sectors. From my own experience as a farmer, it occurred to me that the structure of the startup ecosystem as it is doesn’t serve AgriFood Innovation as well as it does other sectors like FinTech. That’s when I started looking for opportunities that are specific to AgriFood and came across Future Agro Challenge. I just reached out to Carla, and I was fortunate that at the time there was an open opportunity to be an Impact Maker for South Africa and convene the local competition here.
I have believed for a long time that AgriFood is our best opportunity as a continent for people to not only dig themselves out of poverty but to also build thriving livelihoods and become globally competitive. What is going to move us closer to realizing that opportunity is innovation and technology? That is why I wanted to position myself to uncover and support the technology that will impact the more than 100 million small scale farmers across the continent.
Technology adoption among small scale farmers here is extremely limited, so it remains a challenge for innovators to apply their solutions on the ground. This is a challenge we are keen to help innovators bridge. Also, the ecosystem is highly fragmented with elements of it that are underdeveloped. So we have had to be involved in establishing other means to plug the open gaps in the ecosystem, like R&D and project development.
FAC is a way for us to uncover innovations that impact small scale farmers and engage the innovators with the intent of supporting them to access the resources that they need to grow their businesses.
All the agripreneurs that I have met are highly passionate people and committed to the Global Food Security goal. It is highly encouraging for me because it means whatever challenges stand in the way of thriving local and global food systems, there are incredibly talented men and women ready to plug the gaps through innovation.
We are working on a current project for small scale farmer inclusion, which is something we are really excited about. It is a Franchise Model for berry production. Berry production in South Africa is experiencing huge growth and is a sector with strong local demand, but even stronger export orientation. We believe that it will help small scale farmers operate profitable farms and have links to global value chains.
Besides the innovative growing methods, there are incredible developments in biotech, VR, IoT and machine learning that we will be including in our production that will give our small scale farmers an additional edge in the market.
Also, this way of farming is naturally more accommodating for women farmers and its tech orientation is very attractive for young farmers, so we look forward to bolstering women and youth involvement in agriculture as a direct result of this project.
The message I like to spread more broadly is that agriculture goes well beyond farming huge fields of grain in the hot sun. There are incredible opportunities in this space for professionals, entrepreneurs and innovators from all walks of life. We as AgriFood Impact Makers take it upon ourselves to make the space more attractive. I just want to extend an invitation to anyone listening to please explore whatever their career and business aspirations are within this sector. It is highly rewarding.
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