My name is Cassandra Mtine, I am the CEO and Co-founder of AgriPredict Solutions.
I have an educational background in Environmental Economics and Public Policy. Early in my professional career, I had the opportunity to work in the NGO world in the United States which helped me develop various skills including project management, evaluation, research and communication.
More importantly, it gave me an appetite for what innovation and creativity can do to make a positive impact. My career path to this point has been hinged on this.
AgriPredict is an agri-tech start-up that uses technology to help farmers access vital and timely agricultural information. In doing so, we have developed a platform that offers various services including weather, early warning system, and market access. Our vision is to provide agricultural information to help improve farmers’ income, yields, and lives.
The original idea of AgriPredict centered around the crop disease diagnosis service which was started by my co-founders. Back in around 2016-2017, Zambia was hit by the Fall Armyworm pest that resulted in massive yield loss for farmers and impacted household and national food security. For AgriPredict, this began to paint the picture of the needs of our small-scale farmers and the gap with regards to access to agricultural information. As a direct result of feedback from farmers, we have evolved to offer more than crop disease diagnosis. The desire to create change continues to be our inspiration.
Like most startups, we also encountered hardships before establishing AgriPredict. At the beginning of the business, we struggled with finding data to feed our algorithms. Turns out data can be expensive! Another challenge we faced was financing, but we have created partnerships that have helped with overcoming our financial hurdles.
The current problem we are facing is building our tech team – finding highly skilled individuals in our space has not been smooth sailing.
I have had the privilege of participating in a few programs organised by BongoHive, the more recent one being the Thrive Investor Readiness Programme. BongoHive over the years has shown both passion and excellence in its quest to help start-ups. I applied with the hope of gaining the knowledge needed to scale the business, connect with mentors and expand my network.
The Thrive Program was amazing! The topics covered in the program helped us to focus on milestones needed to get us to the next level with regards to expansion and being investor-ready. Since then, we have continued to make progress and are on schedule for the end of the year.
We take pride in the impact that our business has had on farmers. We have over 50 000 farmers registered on our platform that covers farmers from all 10 provinces of the country. Weather and market access services are the top requested at the moment. Farmers have expressed to us their excitement for the platform – how they can use the services right from their phones, how information is available on-demand and how this can make a difference in their lives.
Added to this are some of the awards and recognition we have received:
- We won the 2018 Slush Global Impact Accelerator pitching competition in Finland
- Winner of the 2018 Africa Conference in Egypt
- Selected as one of the startups to pitch at TechCrunch Battlefield Africa in Nigeria
- Our business has also been featured on BBC.
BongoHive is determined to positively impact the startup ecosystem and make Zambia the next hotbed of innovation.
We have various programmers that cater to entrepreneurs at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Visit our programmes page to see programmes that are open for applications.