Togo Agri-Tech Camp aims to “grow” the agriculture sector

Chargé d'affaires and some officials watching a display of technologies
Chargé Posing with the winners of the pitch competition
Chargé Posing with the winners of the pitch competition

The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Lome organized a Tech Camp for 60 young agricultural entrepreneurs in the northern city of Kara from April 10-12. Participants came from Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso, and included farmers, agriculture experts, inventors, and entrepreneurs. The goal of the camp – which was funded by the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs and included collaboration between PAS Lome, PAS Cotonou, and PAS Ouagadougou as well as the University of Kara – was to develop tech solutions to obstacles hindering the growth of the agriculture sector in Togo.  The three-day camp called “AgriTechCamp Togo” began with a session where agricultural NGOs and partners saw dozens of different innovative technologies created by other young participants that could be useful in the work of their organization (such as simple apps that track soil conditions; those that enable farmers’ access to larger markets, and a platform that enables farmer to “share” industrial farm equipment.) After practical exercises and discussions of the most pressing obstacles in the sector, participants worked in groups to develop solutions. Three projects proposed by participants at the end of the Tech Camp received funding commitments for further development. Dana Banks, Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the U.S mission to Togo attended both opening and closing sessions. In her addresses, she noted that “more and more technology is playing an important role in driving this growth, through ICT solutions that can boost the productivity of both smallholder farmers and agriculture value chains.  Togo—like Benin and Burkina—needs young rural entrepreneurs equipped with new technologies to inspire, to counsel, to advise, and to help leverage their countries significant potential to use agricultural development as a means of propelling economic growth” and challenged the participants to embrace fully the core concepts of the program, which are to solve problems, make change, and build their future.

A view of officials during the opening ceremony
A view of officials during the opening ceremony