The sector of ICT for agriculture remains to be developed, even if local institutions and partners have more and more growing interest on it in Benin and around the world. e-MAS team, despite its structural constraints that it encountered in 2017 and not falling solely within its purview (lack of funding, inadequate technological solutions proposed, inaccessibility of GSM network providers, etc.) still achieved significant results. These results can be illustrated both through the different competitions in which we participated and by the different events for which we have been associated in Benin and in the sub-region. It is also in 2017 that we officially launch our website (www.emastechnologies.com) online to enhance our communication strategy and our visibility.
This is the place for us, to sincerely thank the various local and international stakeholders who believed and continue to believe in us and the potential of ICT for improving agricultural practices as well as the financial empowerment of the community, youth in general. We are counting on you to achieve palpable and measurable results by December 2018.
e-MAS Activities in 2017
- Participation in the Benin app challenge Hackaton, e-agriculture component of the World Bank / Cotonou (Benin) 7-9 April 2017
The World Bank and its various partners launched in 2017 a vast e-agriculture program to support innovation in the agricultural sector. The program covers several countries including Benin. The first step of launching of this program was related to the organization of a hackathon. e-MAS participated in the Benin App Challenge with its MVP “piscibum”. The event was a first in Benin because it has involved Ministries of Agriculture and Communication who did not fail to reiterate their commitment to support youth entrepreneurship in Benin specifically in ICT for agriculture sector. The prospects at the end of the hackaton which unfortunately didn’t foster e-MAS team are numerous and were implemented the same year by the ministries of agriculture and communication. Indeed, e-MAS has been involved in several activities jointly conducted by Benin Republic with the World Bank in support of the e-agricultural sector. These included our participation in:
- The Digital Week in Benin organized by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Communication;
- Various exchanges and presentation of technological solutions to the ministries of agriculture and the digital economy and communication in partnership with the World Bank (and its partners);
The e-agriculture project of the World Bank will contribute effectively to the development of e-MAS if practical provisions in terms of support and facilities are put in place to companies operating in ICT for agriculture in general in Benin.
- Participation in the first Africa Youth Agripreneurs Forum of the African Development Bank (AfDB) / Ibadan (Nigeria) 23-25 April 2017
As part of the implementation of its Empowering Novel Agri-Business Led Employment (ENABLE) youth program, the African Development Bank (AfDB) organized the first edition of the Africa Youth Agripreneurs Forum (AYAF) to facilitate networking among young agricultural entrepreneurs and related sectors and to strengthen access to financing, training and information for youth in Africa. It is for this reason that, through the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), e-MAS team was represented at this forum.
During the event, we took an active part in various discussions, among which one of the most notable was ideas for developing farming business run by youth through ICT services. This forum facilitated networking between e-MAS and multiple youth-led startup and enterprises across Africa continent, which allowed us to understood that we share the same challenges and need to work to address them. Support from national and international institutions is needed in this context to achieve this objective of development of agricultural youth enterprises
- Participation in the 1st regional conference on Farmer Business School approach developed by GIZ / Abidjan (Ivory Coast) 10-12 October 2017
Farmer Business School in brief is an approach developed over the last 7 years by GIZ and various partners to change the paradigm that agriculture is a meer routine activity in place of a business and generating income for farmers. e-MAS participated to this conference by the joint invitation of AfDB and GIZ. FBS is a set of training tools used to promote the work of agriculture at the grassroots level. During the conference, one of the strategies defined to ensure the sustainability of the FBS is harnessing the potential of ICT to make its tools available for daily use to a larger target group. In this perspective, e-MAS can be useful to the various partners of the approach for the implementation of the above-mentioned strategy both in Benin and in the sub-region.
- Participation in the 6th EU and Africa Business Forum / Abidjan (Ivory Coast) November 27, 2017
e-MAS has been selected after a call for applications from the European Union to participate in the “digital startup fair” during the 6th EU and Africa Business Forum. It was a forum in prelude to the EU and Africa summit, during which important decisions were took to improve business climate between the two parties and to foster networking between Africa and international companies. A total of 100 startups including 50 African and 50 other European made networking and exchange ideas during this forum. e-MAS has made some very interesting discovery during this forum and established relationships that could potentially be sustainable. It is most important to participate in events of this level to discover external dynamics in order to ultimately seek out the means/strategies that are appropriate and adapted to the context of ICT & Agriculture development in Benin.
Prospects for 2018
With regard to our various achievements, we will work to strengthen partnership between us and various stakeholders at both national and international levels in 2018. Development of new technological solutions to address real needs of grassroots farming community is also planned, as well as participation in other events (conference, hackaton, etc.) to promote networking between e-MAS and entities/institutions and structuring funds to implement technological solutions for farmers in Benin and the sub-region.