Farm technology bound for Africa

Published: 28 August 2014

Edinburgh research group is to receive £10.8 million from the UK Government to provide leading-edge agricultural technology in Africa.

Research Into Results (RIR) will make the latest agricultural innovations available to small businesses in 10 east and southern African countries. RIR will then mentor these businesses to help them grow and find private investment.

The group will receive their funding over six years from the Department for International Development for their Social Enterprises for Economic Development (SEED) programme.

RIR, through previous DFID work, has already developed pest-free crops, improved crop storage systems and are developing mobile phone apps that advise farmers on increasing their returns from agriculture.

SEED aims to turn promising research into commercially viable technology. It has the potential to make more than half a million farmers become more efficient, helping them to feed their families and work their way out of poverty.

The SEED Programme will develop technology-driven social enterprises whose products and services increase the profitability of smallholder farmers. There is a substantial, unmet need for ambitious social enterprises in Africa. SEED is an ambitious programme. It aims to be a game-changer, to create viable social enterprises for the benefit of smallholder farmers.

Dr Andy Frost
Director of Research Into Results

Around 90 per cent of Africa’s estimated poor are reliant on agriculture. SEED will support the commercialisation of new agriculture technology in markets accessible to at least 500,000 small-scale farmers.

The programme will be based in Rwanda and work in 10 countries.

SEED seeks to enhance the flow of investment-ready proposals that reach investment funds and banks. By working with a range of partners, SEED will develop new enterprises to help take technology to market. It aims to overcome the investment gap that can stop promising research turning into valuable technology.

Research Into Results is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University of Edinburgh.

Source: University of Edinburgh