|19 Jul 2023|
|2023 Finalists Global Student Prize|
Mohammed’s childhood in northern Ghana provided him with a great deal of motivation to succeed. As a child he saw his mother’s previously successful grocery business hit hard times and lose both customers and business capital. While he now sees that this was likely due to a lack of guidance and support for women entrepreneurs at that time, the experience ignited his drive to ensure that it would never happen to him, and motivated him to help others survive business troubles too.
As a student, Mohammed has been involved with helping small businesses improve their stability, scalability, and sustainability as a way of making things better for the next generation. He is co-founder of and operations lead for FarmAsyst, an agri-tech startup in Ghana that uses web and mobile applications to make small agribusiness more viable and efficient. FarmAsyst monitors farm activities in real-time to enhance productivity – for instance, by helping farmers optimize their crop management in light of weather and environmental factors (including recommending planting dates and crop varieties that are tailored to local conditions, reducing the risk of crop failure due to climate variability resulting in increased crop yields, and recommending agricultural practices that help to mitigate climate change impacts). Beyond these benefits, the FarmAsyst application also helps connect smallholder farmers to investors. The value of this approach has been demonstrated: a pilot from 2020 to 2022 with 500 smallholder farmers increased per acre yield by 40 per cent and average annual income growth by 79 per cent.
Mohammed’s work has already been recognised at a continental level with awards from The Youth Consortium and the African Union as Youth Champion for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa in 2022. This year, he has been an Exhibitor at the High-Level Forum on South-to-South Triangular Cooperation in Uganda, organized by the African Peer Review Mechanism and its partners including the UNDP, IsDB, and the Government of Uganda. Currently, Mohammed is studying for an MSc in International Development to prepare for a career in the field and become part of a new generation of leaders who are committed to achieving extraordinary social impact through ethical leadership. After graduation, he aims to work with the Ghanaian government and development partners, building experience in project management, monitoring and evaluation. His longer-term ambition is to become a technical advisor with the World Bank or the African Development Bank, programming and managing projects in agriculture, health, education and climate finance.
If he wins the Global Student Prize 2023, Mohammed will use the funds to accelerate and scale FarmAsyst’s platform with full system automation, new disease detection modules, and a monitoring pilot with agribusinesses and development partners – all with the aim of reaching 10,000 smallholder farmers by 2025 and engaging 200 young people, women, and PWDs in on-farm and off-farm employment by 2027.