Many entrepreneurs are driven by a passion to solve problems or address key societal issues. For Tatenda Ndambakuwa, founder of Shiri, her driving force is to address food security challenges by helping farmers in her country to become more productive and efficient using the power of technology.
What does your company do?
Shiri ensures agricultural information and resources are in one place and accessible for anyone on the African continent. The Shiri mobile phone app allows African farmers to better manage the food production system, through sharing equipment, knowledge, and marketplaces. It also seeks to optimize production, sale, and distribution for small-scale farmers. We are optimistic that Shiri, a comprehensive data science-based farming app, will grow to make farming more productive and successful. Currently, it is only available in Zimbabwe.
What inspired you to start your company?
The issue of figuring out how to provide adequate nutrition for future populations needs urgent attention, making agricultural technology the next opportunity for disruption.
By 2050, Africa’s population will double, with 1 billion projected to be under 18 years old, and many other regions will experience similar trends. How will we feed this growing population? How will we shape the future of food and agriculture? Already malnutrition is rampant on the continent and 233 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were hungry/undernourished in 2014-6. It is my crazy idea and my most meaningful commitment to make sure hunger is eradicated in my lifetime. After experiencing food shortages of historic proportions in 2008 Zimbabwe I resolved to work on food security which entails also working on agriculture.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
As a farmer, you get access to agricultural information and resources - market information available to you helps reduce post-harvest spoilage. As a consumer, you get fresh produce at an affordable price. As an agricultural stakeholder (seed companies, agrochemical companies, food processing plants etc) you have access to a platform to engage farmers. Agricultural science students and researchers can connect with farmers in various regions. Finally, drivers can earn money by delivering products and transporting farmers to markets.