Tanzania's Mercy Kitomari wins Agribiz contest Ii Kenya

Mercy Kitomari
Mercy Kitomari
A Tanzanian, Mercy Kitomari, has won a 3,000 US dollars (over 6.0m/-) after excelling in a regional youth agribusiness contest held in Kenya.

Mercy, of Nelwas Gelato Company, took the second position in the 2016 Young Innovators in Agribusiness Competition Start-ups category held in Nairobi Kenya. She beat 13 other competitors from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi to receive 3,000 US dollars as a seed capital, according to a statement from Nairobi. Nelwas Gelato provides ice cream, popsicles and sorbets with fresh fruit taste and low fat.

The Inter Region Economic Network and Young Innovators in Agribusiness Competition Team Leader, Director, Mr James Shikwati said the main goal was to offer young innovators an opportunity to scale up agribusiness activities through training initiatives.

“This is with a view of stimulating enterprises that are investible, sustainable, competitive and ready to play an active role in the larger East African market,” said Mr Shikwati. “We are proud to support eastern Africa youth to meet financiers and investors, and thereby grow their enterprisers,” according to Nelly Ngunguru, Sector Analyst, East Africa Trade Investment Hub.

The head of Corporate Affairs for Syngenta in Africa and the Middle East, Mr Kinyua Mbijjiwe, said they believe in the power of innovation and are glad to be part of this agribusiness competition. “… (This) brings excitement into the region’s agricultural space and offers unlimited potential for growth to our youth, Mr Mbijjiwe said.

Other Tanzanians in the same category included Lunyiliko Komba of Ilundamatwe Holdings, Emmanuel Mwilenga of Agro and Investment Partnership and John Nkwabi Kirigiti of Claphijo Enterprises Ltd.

Noah Ssempijja of Youth Initiative for Community Development (YICE) Uganda clinched the top position while Lilian Uwintwali of M-AHWII Ltd Rwanda clinched the third position. The two received 5,000 US dollars (over 10m/-) and 2,000 US dollars (4.0m/-) respectively.

The event involved 30 contestants from the Young Innovators in Agribusiness Competition selected from 120 Eastern African youth entrepreneurs with start-ups or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the agricultural sector.

The 120 entrepreneurs earlier participated in business training, pitching and presentation sessions. The competitors, aged between 18 and 35 years, run SMEs or start-ups that address needs arising from various agricultural value chains in their respective countries. They specialize in processing, finance, software and apps development, agro-mechanization, packaging and export services.

The key objective of the Agribusiness Innovation and Trade Fair is to create an ecosystem of trade, financing and capability support for the start-ups and SMEs. Among the competitors in the Start-ups Category, seven were from Kenya, two from Rwanda, four from Tanzania, and one each from Uganda and Burundi.

The SMEs Category featured five Kenyans, three Rwandese, two Tanzanians, three Ugandans and two Ethiopians. In the SMEs category, Abrhame Endrias of Green Agro Mechanization from Ethiopia took the first position; Edmond Murindahabi of Pebec Ltd from Rwanda the second Position and Anzazi Kiti of Taste Afrique from Kenya the third position.
  • Story by The Daily News