agCelerant Academy Launched to Meet Emergent Demand for Sustainable Agri-entrepreneurship Solutions

agCelerant Academy enables youth to become agri-preneurs to support rice farmers and Senegal towards food sovereignty.

Dakar, 22 FEBRUARY 2021 – agCelerant Academy, recipient of a grant from the Partnership Program for Employment and Strengthening of SMEs, Special Initiative Training and Employment under German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ), graduates 40 agripreneurs, now equipped, trained on rice cultivation practices and agribusiness planning, and placed with a portfolio of producers covering 8,000 ha.

Initiated to accelerate job creation for youth through the development of phygital agriculture, agCelerant Academy is carried in the country by agCelerant Senegal (a Manobi Africa group company) with technical support from Africa Rice. agCelerant’s keystone concept of phygital agriculture anchors on the proximity with, and inclusivity of smallholder farmers and all the actors in the value chain to leapfrog the inefficiencies of informal markets in the agricultural sector.

Graduates can make a substantial contribution towards food security – but not any kind of food security: food sovereignty

From over 1,200 candidates to agCelerant Academy’s first call for applicants, 40 were carefully selected through a 2-step screening process. They were then recruited, trained and equipped with key rice agronomy and value chain knowledge to support smallholder producers in their quest of financing, increased yield and revenue through the agCelerant orchestration platform. agCelerant provides a comprehensive set of market-ready solutions to de-risk the provision of smallholder credit, e.g. by Banque Agricole in the Senegal River Valley.

Graduates of agCelerant Academy February 2021 with GIZ, DER, Manobi Africa, Africa Rice project partner representatives

Each agri-preneur is supported in the creation of their own start-up business, with a financing capital provided by Délégation Générale de l’Entrepreneuriat Rapide des Jeunes et des Femmes (DER FJ) for the initial cropping season and equipped with agCelerant smartphone and motorcycle financed by GIZ.

Africa Rice supports the academy with its technical expertise and has provided the incubation training center for the agCelerant academy and its administrative office in the Saint Louis campus. Funded by the ISFE program, the academy and supervisory office are equipped with laptops, printers, and interactive dashboards to track data collected by field agents during their deployment.

The public-private partnership holds promise for a more secure future in the agricultural sector of Senegal, and for national food sovereignty.

Building a new generation of young agri-preneurs is key to ensure the safe market inclusion of smallholder farmers, and their access to finance and bridging digital technologies. “Your success is our success. We succeed together, or we fail together” declared Daniel Annerose, Director and Founder of Manobi Africa, reminding graduates that they can make a substantial contribution towards food security – but not any kind of food security: food sovereignty. The inception of this first agCelerant Academy cohort heralds many more to come across the continent and diverse commodity value chains.

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