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Young Agripreneur is advancing the sector through Tech adaptation

Israel Niyonshuti is a young man who founded an institution called ‘Tech Adopter’, which manufactures devices used in agricultural processing and value addition. He recently won an award of over 11 million RwF as one of the youths leveraging technology to advance agriculture.

Coming from a farming family in the Burera District, Gahunga Sector, Niyonshuti shared that the idea to start the institution came when he was studying at IPRC Kigali. After completing his studies, he felt the need not just to farm traditionally, but to contribute to agriculture using technology.

He pondered, “Why shouldn’t I make a tool that can assist me, given that I’m practicing agriculture, but in a more technologically advanced way?”

Initially, Niyonshuti began with a machine that processes maize remotely controlled by a phone. Many praised his efforts and encouraged him to develop more devices for agricultural use, which weren’t common in Rwanda.

He was financially supported through a prize he won from the ‘Innovation Club competition held at IPRC Kigali. He also received training and knowledge from the ‘250 Startups’ program, which taught him business skills, connected him with investors, and even allowed him to intern in Japan.

In 2018, he established ‘Tech Adopter’, recruiting five colleagues with whom he started producing these tools. They began to be used in Rwandan agriculture.

The machines manufactured at ‘Tech Adopter’ include ‘Thresher machines’ that thresh various crops like maize, soy, and beans, as well as ‘Rice shellers’ that process rice. They also have ‘Power Tillers’ used for plowing and harvesting, and ‘Choppers’ that cut livestock fodder, among others.

Israel Niyonshuti mentioned that ‘Tech Adopter’ has worked with over 150 farmers. Some have purchased the machines while others rent them.

Cooperatives decide to purchase, while individuals often rent. Customers call and specify their needs, and a technician is sent to assist them during the rental period.

Niyonshuti adds that renting these machines has proven beneficial as ‘Tech Adopter’ mainly collaborates with small-scale farmers. Renting is their preferred mode and is more affordable than purchasing.

However, Niyonshuti highlighted some challenges. Many farmers wish to buy these tech tools but can’t afford them. He suggests financial institutions should offer loans with lenient terms.

Another challenge is the lack of awareness about the use of these machines in agriculture. Better sensitization would result in better utilization.

Niyonshuti’s message to the youth is to embrace agriculture, noting that it’s not just about traditional farming. With the internet, they can contribute significantly to the agricultural sector.

He encourages his peers to engage in agriculture, emphasizing the vast opportunities in the sector, especially when combined with technology.

Israel Niyonshuti recently won a prize of over 11 million RwF in July 2023 at the ‘AYuTe Africa Challenge’, a competition for tech-based agricultural startups. This contest was organized by Heifer International, an international organization focused on fighting poverty and hunger, and held in various African countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Malawi, and Uganda.

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