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Updated 23 Apr 2018

Disruptors on your doorstep: Will you partner with Agripreneurs of the future?

This month, innovators in the field of Agri technology descend upon Johannesburg to compete for excellence, and put their minds together to ‘unbreak the food chain’. 

Pritesh Ruthun, 20 March 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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With the end of the first quarter of 2017 already in sight, you’ve no doubt felt the pressure of uncertain exchange rates and its effects on your material input costs. While the State of the Nation address pointed toward an upward trajectory for SA’s GDP – the agri sector is no doubt going to have to work hard to show positive results this year.

You’re not only facing tumultuous economics and politics, though. Disruptive innovators in the agri sector are on the rise and they’re coming to Johannesburg this month to debate how they can re-shape the way food is produced, consumed and recycled.

Related: Why agribusiness owners should implement the King IV principles


“The food chain is broken. We need a bottom-up approach to identifying new and sustainable solutions to current and future challenges,” says Carla Tanas, Future Agro Challenge (FAC) co-founder. The FAC is hosting its annual gathering of the minds in Johannesburg this month to discuss the challenges facing the agri sector.

The Global Agripreneurs Summit 2017

Global -Agripreneurs -Summit -2017

Carla Tanas is the co-founder of the Future Agro Challenge (FAC), a key component of the Global Agripreneurs Summit 2017, which takes place in Johannesburg from March 12 to 15.

The overall event forms part of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) hosted by Industry Disruptors, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), SIDA through the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the South African Department of Science and Technology.

“The food chain is broken. We need a bottom-up approach to identifying new and sustainable solutions to current and future challenges,” explains Tanas. “Innovators, who have submitted high-calibre applications to the FAC, are positioned to help us address those challenges. Agripreneurs must be on the frontline, and the FAC ecosystem, including all our stakeholders are committed to help them succeed.”

This year, more than 50 innovative entrepreneurs are taking on the challenges facing agriculture with unique digital or analogue solutions and approaches. They’re young, tech-savvy, business-focused individuals who have also recognised the world’s need for a better food supply chain. While they’re still at early stages of development, they might present ideal opportunities for you as collaboration partners. Take last year’s FAC winner for instance.

A unique partner for milk producers

Last year’s FAC winner, Nicolás Morelli, COO at VACUCH in Santiago, Chile, shares more on his innovative business idea - an antibacterial milk liner:

“It mitigates bovine mastitis and reduces the number of bacteria in milk. Through my participation at the Future Agro Challenge (FAC) my organisation was able to secure its first formal client to produce milk liners.

Related: Starting an agribusiness: Vital factors that can make or break your venture

Following the FAC, we were contacted by all the big players in the Chilean industry, distributors, big-scale dairies, veterinarians, and the like. We are negotiating with providers to produce our master batch and setting up the operation with the assistance of the joint venture with an Argentinian manufacturer to satisfy this demand.”

While VACUCH isn’t directly involved in producing milk, it’s developed a solution that’s in high demand already. The interested parties are more than happy to invest in growing VACUCH’s market share, as they also benefit from being able to deliver better-quality milk.

Have you considered collaboration partners in your strategies going forward? There might be an ideal partner out there for you, if you can find the right fit. This year’s collaborative gathering of innovators in agri might unearth solutions that appeal to you, so if you’d like to find out more, visit the Future Agro Challenge website.


  • Agriculture’s faced with numerous challenges but that’s not stopping innovation in the sector.
  • This year, the world’s brightest agri-focused minds gather in Johannesburg to debate farming challenges and potential solutions.
  • They’re looking for funders, partners, enablers of growth too, and it might present an opportunity for you to find a collaboration partner with solutions to improve the way you’re currently running the business. Standard Bank’s Agri experts can assist you in setting up a partnership that works in all stakeholders’ best interests.
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About the author

Pritesh Ruthun

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