7th AgriFin Learning Event

Theme: Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Food Systems: Enhancing Collaboration to Scale Digital Solutions

7th Annual Learning Event

Session Details

Opening Remarks

Speakers:
Sieka Gatabaki

Sieka Gatabaki

Program Director,
Mercy Corps AgriFin

Michael Joseph

Michael Joseph

Board Chair Pula, Board Chair Kenya Airways & Businessman

Cabinet Secretary

Cabinet Secretary

Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development

Leaders Dialogue

Session Overview:
During this session, speakers will be setting the stage for the ALE, exploring how food systems and associated initiatives towards improving them, can be enhanced by greater collaboration, forming the right partnerships, to be able to take advantage of emerging technologies
Session Moderator:
Tamara Cook

Tamara Cook

CEO, FSD Kenya

Speakers:
Dr. James Mwangi, CBS

Dr. James Mwangi, CBS

Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer,
Equity Group Holdings.

Melaku Yirga

Melaku Yirga

Regional Director Africa,
Mercy Corps

AbdulMajid M Nsekela

AbdulMajid M Nsekela

Group CEO and Managing Director,
CRDB Bank

Jesman Chonzi

Jesman Chonzi

Manager, Financial Institutions Group for Eastern and Southern Africa,
IFC

Dennis Itumbi

Dennis Itumbi

Chief Administrative Secretary

SESSION 1: Financial Services

Theme: Finding Effective Partnerships, making it work for Smallholder Farmers

Session Overview:

The objective of the session is to discuss Partnerships and their role in the success of access to financial services by smallholder farmers, which would include: – Showcasing how partnerships leverage strengths of ecosystem players to develop platforms that have better active use and access outcomes – Assessing the competitive landscape to unpack where collaboration would work best e.g. agent level and data sharing level – Reviewing success stories and also challenges faced in fostering partnerships for financial services. – How do we attract the right partners for a platform?

Session Moderator:
Betty Muriithi

Betty Muriithi

Digital Banking Manager,
Mercy Corps AgriFin

Speakers:
Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson

Senior Financial Sector Specialist,
CGAP

Alexis Teyie

Alexis Teyie

Research Lead,
SPARC

Jared Ochieng

Jared Ochieng

Senior Agriculture Specialist, FSD Kenya

Euster Seghete Gerald

Euster Seghete Gerald

Head of Ecosystem Business,
Loop DFS, NCBA Group

Paul Odong

Paul Odong

Head of Projects
Equity Bank, Uganda

Paul Kweheria

Paul Kweheria

Managing Consultant,
Quad Tee Corporation

Rupsha R Banerjee

Rupsha R Banerjee

Senior Scientist, ILRI

Tito Gachuhi

Tito Gachuhi

Manager, Financial Services Strategy (FSS),
Genesis

John Mungai

John Mungai

Agricultural Finance Corporation

Jacqueline Odundo

Jacqueline Odundo

Corporation Secretary & Head of Legal Services,
Warehouse Receipt System Council (WRSC)

Anthony Mbithi

Anthony Mbithi

Head of Agribusiness,
Family Bank Ltd

SESSION 2: Gender and marginalized groups

Theme: Growing Inclusive and Equitable Food Systems through Collective Action.

Session Overview:

This session aspires to be a dynamic platform that sets the stage for transformative change within food systems. Through this session, we aim to facilitate a collaborative dialogue that transcends boundaries, bringing together a diverse array of stakeholders from philanthropic capital to agribusinesses, financial institutions, and technology innovators to chart a course towards a future where food systems are not only more equitable but also more capable of withstanding the impacts of a changing climate.

Join us in shaping the future of food systems, where collective action is the linchpin upon which resilience, inclusivity, and sustainability depend. Together, we will navigate the complex terrain of modern agriculture, forging partnerships that will drive meaningful change and ensure a nourished and resilient world for all.

Session Moderator:
Kassim Zani

Kassim Zani

Gender Transformative Programming Lead,
Mercy Corps AgriFin

Speakers:
Alexis Teyie

Alexis Teyie

Research Lead,
SPARC

Sadiaa Haque

Sadiaa Haque

Manager,
BRAC International Microfinance

Nneka Enwonwu

Nneka Enwonwu

 Country Managing Director,
Hello Tractor, Nigeria 

Ann Kitonga

Ann Kitonga

Project Manager,
Business Analytics,
IDH

Emmastella Gakuo

Emmastella Gakuo

Co-founder and Director of Operations,
Savanna Circuit Tech

Sudi Biko Matara

Sudi Biko Matara

Head Sustainable Business and Climate Change,
KTDA Foundation

Seema Gohil

Seema Gohil

Director, Digifarm

Adwoa Fofie

Adwoa Fofie

Chief Operations Officer,
Cowtribe Technology

Duncan Oyaro

Duncan Oyaro

Project Manager,
Agriculture and Processing Project,
FSD Kenya.

Dr. George Njenga

Dr. George Njenga

Founding Dean
Strathmore University Business School

Prof. Simon Wagura Ndiritu

Prof. Simon Wagura Ndiritu

Strathmore University, Business School

Dr. Ahmed Rufai

Dr. Ahmed Rufai

Operations manager (North),
Livestock247 Services LTD

Session 3: Advisory

Theme: Providing Advisory: Exploring innovative revenue models, leveraging partnerships to tailor affordable and inclusive services for smallholder farmers.

Session Overview:

Digital agriculture advisory services have evolved significantly since their inception, revolutionizing farmers’ access to knowledge and enhancing farming practices. This journey has yielded tangible results in boosting farmers’ understanding and application of effective agricultural techniques. To ensure the sustainability of these services amidst challenges such as farmers’ reluctance to pay for certain offerings, a multi-pronged approach is essential. This session explores innovative revenue models, leveraging partnerships with private and public sectors, and tailoring services to meet farmers’ specific needs and affordability. Moreover, promoting collaboration among advisory services is crucial to avoid duplication, optimize resource allocation, and create synergies where complementary services enhance overall impact. By harnessing available data, resources, and infrastructure, can we create a collaborative ecosystem that empowers farmers with comprehensive, sustainable, and value-driven digital agricultural solutions?

Session Moderator:
Elias Nure

Elias Nure

Digital Climate-Smart Agriculture and Sprout Platform Lead,
Mercy Corps AgriFin

Speakers:
Kristin Peterson

Kristin Peterson

Sprout Platform Lead and Sr. Tech for Development Advisor,
Mercy Corps Agrifin

Irene Wambui Kimani

Irene Wambui Kimani

ICT Specialist and Data Scientist at KALRO

Abrhame Endrias

Abrhame Endrias

Founder and Managing Director, Lersha

Kelechi John-Ogbuku

Kelechi John-Ogbuku

Head of Communication, Coamana

Mandlenkosi Nkomo

Mandlenkosi Nkomo

Delivery Work Package Lead and Chief Growth Officer,
CGIAR

Temesgen Gebeyehu

Temesgen Gebeyehu

Digital Agriculture Program Director,
Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA)

Calvince Okello

Calvince Okello

Founder and CEO, M-shamba

Prof. Simon Wagura Ndiritu

Prof. Simon Wagura Ndiritu

Strathmore University, Business School

Peninah Wanja

Peninah Wanja

Managing Director,
FarmingTech Solutions Ltd

Henry Burgsteden

Henry Burgsteden

Senior Coordinator, 
Office of the Director General (ODG),
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Session on Generating Evidence

Session Overview:

Incorporating a session on generating evidence during the AgriFin Learning Event will be an important aspect because it will empower participants with the tools and knowledge needed to make informed, data-driven decisions in agriculture and finance. Evidence serves as the backbone for effective program design, resource allocation, and policy development, ensuring that efforts are targeted towards strategies with the greatest impact. It fosters accountability, innovation, and collaboration among stakeholders, ultimately driving positive change and sustainability in these vital sectors. In a rapidly evolving landscape, such a session ensures that participants stay at the forefront of industry trends and best practices, promoting continuous learning and growth.

Agenda:

  • Behavioral research masterclass – insights from ongoing work with Busara
  • RCT and rigorous research – Insights from ongoing work from DAISI and J-Pal
  • Alternative to rigorous research – Insights from ongoing work with 60 decibels
Session Moderator:
Collins Marita

Collins Marita

Director MERAL,
Mercy Corps AgriFin

Speakers:
Venu Aggarwal

Venu Aggarwal

Director, 60 Decibels

Morgan Kabeer

Morgan Kabeer

Engagement Director,
Busara Center

Hanadi Al Saidi

Hanadi Al Saidi

Senior Associate, 60 Decibels

Jenna Fahle

Jenna Fahle

Center for Effective Global Action,
UC Berkeley (CEGA)

SESSION 4: Markets/Platforms

Theme: Enhanced collaboration for effective digital platforms

Session Overview:

The main objective of this session is to share learnings around collaborations for effective delivery of services via digital platforms. The session will focus on understanding the evolving dynamics around digital platforms as agtechs develop strategies for scale and sustainability inorder to serve small scale farmers. Digital platforms experts will look to engage participants in open discussions and debates on how existing digital platforms can serve small scale farmers better through inclusivity and collaborations. The session will identify the bottlenecks as well as opportunities around scaling robust digital platforms.

Session Moderator:
Samuel Karanja

Samuel Karanja

Agriculture Manager,
Mercy Corps AgriFin

Speakers:
Alexis Teyie

Alexis Teyie

Research Lead,
SPARC

Abrhame Endrias

Abrhame Endrias

Founder and Managing Director, Lersha

George Njoroge

George Njoroge

Country Coordinator,
Farm to Market Alliance

Paul Asura

Paul Asura

Projects Manager,
Green Edge Digital Africa

Wouter van Monsjou

Wouter van Monsjou

Business Analytics team Lead, IDH

Hellen Mutogoh

Hellen Mutogoh

Head of Community Engagement,
AfriScout Project

Ann Kabukuru

Ann Kabukuru

Commercial Management Lead,
DigiFarm Kenya

Session 5: Digital Climate Smart Agriculture (DCSA)

Theme: Financing Climate Change Adaptations

Session Overview:

Financing climate change adaptation efforts can simultaneously address poverty reduction and sustainable development across Africa. Climate Finance is the catalyst for leveraging resources for new collaborations and promoting technologies. This thematic area showcases ways to engage the private and public sectors in ensuring effective collaborations within the ecosystem and fuel discussions on necessary policies that can positively impact and drive change in the sector as climate smart agriculture is an integral approach to help guide the transformation of agriculture food systems. It will also highlight the climate smart financing needs within Africa, gaps, and opportunities in this space.
This session will also introduce Sprout, an open agriculture content platform that has a range of climate smart agriculture resources and information, as well as climate related products and services that can be leveraged by partners to support farmers to build resilience to climate change, ultimately aiding smallholder productivity.

Session Moderator:
Lavender Apollo

Lavender Apollo

Agtech Strategy Manager,
Mercy Corps AgriFin

Speakers:
Boniface Akuku (PhD)

Boniface Akuku (PhD)

Digital Agriculture Specialist, Food and Agriculture Organization

Kristin Girvetz

Kristin Girvetz

Director, AgThrive

Margreet Muizebelt

Margreet Muizebelt

Founder & Account Manager Partnerships,
Acorn RaboBank

Jacopo Parigiani

Jacopo Parigiani

Soil & Water Management Scientist,
Crop Nutrition Laboratory Services Ltd. (Cropnuts)

Jeremy Cordingley

Jeremy Cordingley

Founder & CEO,
Crop Nutrition Laboratory Services Ltd (Cropnuts)

Dr. Wario Sori Sake

Dr. Wario Sori Sake

Livestock Director,
NRT-Trading

Guyo Roba

Guyo Roba

 Head of Jameel Observatory for Food Security Early Action,
ILRI

Hedwig Siewertsen

Hedwig Siewertsen

Head, Inclusive Finance,
AGRA

Chloe Stull-Lane

Chloe Stull-Lane

Innovation Director, SPARC

SESSION 6: Data

Theme: Collaborative Data Synergies for Food System Transformation

Session Overview:

There is a growing recognition of the role of data in agriculture and food systems including in the context of smallholder farmers from low- and middle-income countries. By transitioning to data driven agriculture, smallholder farmers can reduce the cost of cultivation, increase productivity, increase sales realisation, and reduce vulnerabilities. For service providers, shifting to data driven service delivery can enable better customer segmentation, improved product design, reduced cost of service delivery, and improved adoption of services. For stakeholders such as development funders, data can enable evidence based funding and also ease monitoring, evaluation, and learning. Consequently, today, there are multiple efforts to integrate data into agriculture and food systems. 

However, in practice, when it comes to data in agriculture, most of the efforts are in silos with each organization working on their own data collection, management, and analysis journey. This is resulting in duplication of efforts and resources, a fragmented data ecosystem, and farmer fatigue, all of which are detrimental to the data-driven agriculture movement. As a response, there has been a niche movement towards promoting collaboration in the data ecosystem through various models: co–investment in data collection, data sharing, development of digital public infrastructure, and others. These collaborations are new but hold several promises. For instance, it can be hypothesised that data sharing can reduce costs of service delivery and also provide access to larger pools of data for training algorithms and predictive models. Similarly, open data can enable better product design. Collaboration can also amplify evidence-based decision making and reduce costs of MEL of development programs. 

With this background, in this session we plan to understand what Collaborative Data Synergies for Food System Transformation means in the context of smallholder farmers from low- and middle-income countries, and how such collaboration can be seeded, supported, and scaled. 

Session Moderator:
Emmanuel Makau

Emmanuel Makau

Technology Data Decision Manager and Kenya Country Lead,
Mercy Corps AgriFin

Speaker:
Albert Boogard

Albert Boogard

Head Smallholder Solutions, Rabo Partnerships

Shreejit Borthakur

Shreejit Borthakur

Senior Innovation Manager and Technology Lead,
IDH

Charlotte Keijser

Charlotte Keijser

Innovation Manager,
IDH FarmFit Intelligence Center

Francis Gwer

Francis Gwer

Senior Financial Sector Policy Specialist,
FSD Kenya

Kelvin Mashisia Shikuku

Kelvin Mashisia Shikuku

Scientist (Economist), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

Simon Mulwa

Simon Mulwa

Assistant Director of ICT,
Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)

Zilla Mary Arach

Zilla Mary Arach

Chief Product Officer, EzyAgric

Beryl Agengo

Beryl Agengo

Digital Agriculture Specialist,
The World Bank

Paul Odong

Paul Odong

Head of Projects
Equity Bank, Uganda

Session on Driving Investments

Theme: Unlocking financing for innovation and scale

Session Overview:

The focus of the discussion will deliberately move away from challenges and instead focus on opportunities for investment in the digital agriculture space. The session will bring together diverse investors and funders to share their experiences of what ideal investments look like considering the complexities of the system and market, provide actionable insights, caution against pitfalls that innovators (including financial institutions and agribusinesses) need to look out for, and highlight the role of collaboration amongst different actors in the space to unlock financing for innovation and scale.

Session Moderator:
Grace Njoroge

Grace Njoroge

Deputy Program Director,
Mercy Corps AgriFin

Speakers:
Mathew Shakhovskoy

Mathew Shakhovskoy

Director, ISF Advisors

Hannah Reed

Hannah Reed

Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Roel Messie

Roel Messie

Chief Executive Officer,
IDH Investment Management

Magdalena Banasiak

Magdalena Banasiak

Head of Government Development and Partnerships, Acumen

Jan Willem Van Casteren

Jan Willem Van Casteren

CEO and Co-Founder,
eProd Solutions

Justin Ahmed

Justin Ahmed

Director
Beanstalk AgTech

Ayodeji Balogun

Ayodeji Balogun

Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) ,
AFEX

Michael Joseph

Michael Joseph

Board Chair Pula, Board Chair Kenya Airways & Businessman

Closing plenary

Leveraging technology towards more efficient, impactful, and sustainable food systems.

Session Overview:

Overall objective for this session is to provide an overall take of the event/parting shots for the whole event. Specifically, we will be engaging a panel of experts and thought leaders, in having conversations about:

The importance of partnerships and collective action in achieving the shared goal of transforming food systems.
Identifying opportunities for partnerships, collective action, and innovation to accelerate the development of inclusive and equitable food systems.
Insights and recommendations on how to overcome the challenges to collaboration and how to achieve greater impact.
Recognizing the growing frequency and intensity of climate-related events such as El Nino, the need for innovative agricultural solutions is more pressing than ever. How can we ensure that with the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning that we are not left behind enhancing efficiency in our food systems.
Strategic partnerships with private-sector entities and agri-tech innovators exemplify the power of collaboration in addressing the unique challenges faced by small scale producers, how they can be enhanced and leveraged.

 

Session Moderator:
Mwombeki Baregu

Mwombeki Baregu

Investment Officer, IFC

Speakers :
Hamisi Williams

Hamisi Williams

Deputy Country Representative, FAO

Hannah Reed

Hannah Reed

Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Jenny Löfbom

Jenny Löfbom

Country Director, IDH Kenya

Stanley Njoroge

Stanley Njoroge

Chief Finance Officer,
Safaricom Ethiopia

Mildred Nadah Pita

Mildred Nadah Pita

Head of Public Affairs Science Sustainability Africa,
Bayer.