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Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech Finalists: Esoko

Meet the Finalists: Esoko

Pictured (left to right): Daniel Asare Kyei, Nana Okyir Baidoo, William Osei Agyemang, and Xose Ahlijah.

Tell us about you/your team.

Our team consists of professionals with diverse backgrounds, which reflects the broad-reaching objectives of our solution. Our CEO, Daniel, is a PhD holder with a background in geographic information system mapping and agricultural economics. Our COO, Nana, has a background in project management and investment management. Our CFO, William, is a financial management and accounting specialist. Finally, our CTO, Xose, is a computer engineer with vast experience in the solution development space. Our company, and we as individuals, are committed to making the lives of last-mile beneficiaries better through technology. We are very much driven by this mission.

What inspired you to participate in the Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech? In addition to competing for the $1 million grand prize, what do you hope to gain from this experience?

The Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech’s focus on SDGs 1 and 2 are very much in line with what we at Esoko aim to achieve as an organization through our digital solutions. We were confident that, given the support offered by this competition, we would be much closer to attaining this shared vision in our chosen niche. Beyond this, we are very excited about collaborating with the Milken-Motsepe Prize brand and hope to gain good knowledge and social capital to have future collaborations with partners who share our vision.

How will your concept increase economic value to farmers in Africa?

One of the key drawbacks faced by agriculture, especially primary production, is lack of access to capital. Smallholder farmers are the most affected by these as financial institutions, offtakers, and aggregators find it difficult to have a view into their operations. Coupled with this, low productivity and vulnerability to climate issues further exacerbate the perceived and real risks associated with smallholder farmers, especially in the grains value chain. With our Digimakts concept, we aim to digitize the interactions between these actors, provide support for farmers through provision of climate-smart agronomic info and market prizes, and create a ready market for farmers’ produce. We believe that by doing this we will be able to give value-chain actors, especially financial institutions, more visibility and data on farmer operations and reduce the perceived risks that prevent these farmers from qualifying for input and cash credit.

What sets you apart from other teams in this competition?

Our CEO, Daniel, grew up in a predominantly agrarian community. Throughout his upbringing, he has been privy to the myriad of challenges facing not just farmers but also other actors in the value chain. Cocoa-purchasing clerks, including his own father, would often get into trouble over accounts of purchase under their custody. All of these issues were things that Daniel has envisioned could be and should have been solved with the application of just a little technology. Our COO, Nana, on the other hand, grew up in a mining town, with both of his parents working in one of the major gold mines at the time. He also witnessed firsthand the gulf of difference in welfare of farmers and of gold miners, and the detrimental effects of small-scale mining on smallholders and their livelihoods. From both perspectives, there is a shared need for the improvement of the livelihoods of last-mile families. There are similar stories within our team, and this creates a strong bond and will to work towards a shared mission that we are continuing to pursue on this competition.