Brastorne Wins the AYuTe Africa Challenge and Further Develops its Relationship with Heifer International

Digital access remains a serious difficulty for the majority of African countries. Despite increased attempts to overcome the barriers to digital inclusion, diverse populations, particularly women and people with disabilities, remain disproportionately affected. A connected continent, country, and individual have endless potential for creating economic growth.

The same can be said for the agricultural sector, the biggest source of income for most Africans. This sector in Africa is an essential component of the continent’s economy, contributing significantly to its growth and prosperity. Unfortunately, most African farmers lack access to modern farming tools, techniques, and technologies, preventing them from achieving maximum productivity. For this reason, there is a need to equip and empower African farmers with the knowledge, resources, and technology required to increase crop yields and maximize their profits.

“We believe that digital inclusion is a basic human right, so we have focused our efforts on building a simple digital inclusion system for farmers through mAgri,” said Martin Stimela, CEO of Brastrone. This is what Brastorne does—we bring digital inclusion to rural economies, giving people access to information, markets, and community. mAgri is a USSD mobile application that connects the unconnected regardless of the mobile phone they use, enabling both farmers and buyers to engage in profitable transactions.

Brastorne Wins the AYuTe Africa Challenge

At the MIT Solve 2022 event, Brastorne’s mAgri received an award from Heifer International for “Innovation in Smallholder Agriculture Products” amounting to $100,000. Brastorne’s innovative solution was notably appreciated the same year when it participated in the AYuTe Africa Challenge and proceeded to be awarded a whopping $300,000.

“Brastorne is proud to be named a winner of the AYuTe Africa Challenge, partnering with Heifer International in order to help bring digital access to smallholder farmers across the African continent.” Naledi Magowe, Chief Growth Officer, stated. “With countless individuals across the continent still facing barriers to accessing critical information, this effort promises to provide much-needed connectivity and economic opportunities for farmers.”

African smallholder farmers face a unique combination of challenges in growing food and sustaining themselves. While lack of resources is one of the most pressing challenges facing smallholder farmers, they frequently face a lack of technical help, as well as productivity shortages, leaving them unable to invest in critical resources such as better seeds that replenish soil nutrients. These issues are especially complicated for rural African households, where there is little understanding of agriculture technology, a lack of access to essential information, and poor infrastructure, which add to the already overwhelming list of challenges.

Through this collaboration with Heifer International, Brastorne will use its innovative solutions to disrupt smallholder farmers’ digital inclusion barriers, while Heifer will bring decades of international aid experience to promote social change through digital access. The partnership will help to emphasize the critical role that mobile solutions play in developing possibilities for smallholder farmers. Brastorne will also benefit from the MIT Network’s technological and business expertise, interacting with thought leaders and industry professionals in order to expand Brastorne into a Pan-African organization.

Brastorne has already expanded its footprint in the DRC and Cameroon and plans to expand its solutions to 19 different African countries. This award from AYuTe will help Brastorne scale its solutions into new geographies as well as enhance its technology platform, creating multiple additional comprehensive solutions that will serve the underserved, create jobs, improve gender equality, food security, and youth empowerment. It’s exciting to see how this partnership can help smallholder farmers facing socio-economic disadvantages become empowered by gaining control over their futures across Africa.