A Ghanaian agritech startup Okuafo Foundation has been awarded $600,000 by a United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) award scheme, Zayed Sustainability Prize for its contribution towards the Agricultural sector in Ghana and around Africa.
The Foundation which was launched in 2018 by co-founders Tina Appiah and Mustapha Diyaol Haqq, is the first Ghanaian facility to receive the Zayed Sustainability Prize, ABC News can confirm.
Based in Agbogba in the Greater Accra Region, Okuafo Foundation in less than 2 years of existence developed an application (app) that uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and data analytics to determine and diagnose diseases in crops at an early stage without an internet connection.
In a statement on 14 January during the award ceremony, Zayed Sustainability Prize said the app has helped some 30,000 farmers in Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and Burkina Faso reduce their crop losses and improve their harvest by 50%, thereby increasing profits and disposable income hence the need for the company to be awarded.
Receiving the award on behalf of the Foundation, Co-founder, Mustapha Diyaol Haqq indicated that the award came in the nick of time since it will help them extend help to ‘extremely’ poor farmers and ensure they make returns on their agricultural inputs.
“This award comes at a time when it is most needed. We live in times where families are working extremely hard but gain close to nothing as output. Smallholder farmers are living in extreme poverty and hunger and, despite working all year round to produce food, they get very little returns from their input.
“The winning prize fund will enable us to empower farmers, across Africa, with sustainable AI-powered solutions that will revolutionise the way they farm, store, and process their yields,” he stated.
Inspired by the first president of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the annual $3-million Zayed Sustainability Prize is the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) leading sustainability award for recognising innovative solutions that are making an impact.
For this year’s edition, 2300 submissions were received from 129 countries. These were then whittled down to a shortlist of 76 from which 30 finalists were selected.