By Omolola Pedro
Driven by the aim to address some challenges facing the agriculture sector, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and the Centre for Food and Research (CEFTER) of the Benue State University, have supported 25 early-stage Agritechs with financial grants to help them improve their businesses and develop innovative solutions in the sector. The beneficiaries were winners at the grand finale of the just-concluded Agrohack Challenge held in Makurdi, Benue State. According to a statement released by FCMB, the selected Agritechs received varying amounts of funding that address challenges in the agriculture sector.
“The funding ranges from N600,000 to N2.4million. The startups will also receive access to business support services, incubation, and networking opportunities. Achesa, a startup raising income of smallholder farmers through optimised yields, improved productivity and market access, emerged tops during the challenge and won the grand prize of N2.4 million. In addition to the N2.4 million, Achesa and 10 runner-ups will receive incubation support from Hub One, the tech startup accelerator of FCMB, for three months and access to workspace, market and networks to aid business growth. Cardinal Torch and eSusFarm were second and third runners-up. They got N1.9 million and N1.5 million, respectively, from the Bank, while Farmsquare and Bionet also received N600,000 each from FCMB. 24 other winners were given N600,000 each by the United Nations Development Programme in Nigeria and the Centre for Food and Research”, the statement partly read.
While applauding the winners, Managing Director of FCMB, Mrs. Yemisi Edun, said agriculture must be prioritised and commitment must be directed at supporting Agritechs to build innovative solutions that will address challenges in the sector and drive economic growth. As institutions fostering inclusive and sustainable growth in local communities across the country, we will continue to work with other stakeholders to improve agriculture and create a future of shared prosperity for Nigerians. We congratulate all the winners and look forward to working with them in their next growth phase”, she added.