Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change, and its impacts—flooding, droughts, cyclones, sea-level rise– are already driving shifts in how Africans grow food, live, and earn their livelihoods.
Yet, most of the climate funding for the continent goes toward climate mitigation rather than adaptation. This is a problem, partly because adaptation creates well-paying jobs and diversifies economies, strengthening societal resilience. Agriculture is one sector where adaptation promises immense potential.
For example, Soupah Kitchen & Grocery Technology Company, a woman-led agribusiness based in Ibadan, Nigeria, is unlocking innovative solutions to climate change to advance the continent’s energy transition.
With support from the African Development Bank, the Global Centre on Adaptation, and its Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) (https://apo-opa.info/3ByCbr9), Soupah Kitchen uses resource-smart technology to control the environment for growing lettuce, kale, leafy green, and herbs. The start-up produces cheaper and healthier vegetables through hydroponics on Ibadan rooftops than those grown on rural farms.
Ifeloluwa Olatayo, Soupah Kitchen’s CEO, was among 15 winners of the 2021 African Youth Adaptation (YouthADAPT) Solutions Challenge organized by the AAAP, a joint initiative of the African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation.
Olatayo said, “Our resource-smart technology is designed to grow up to three tonnes of fresh food within a 650 square-meter area. It will enhance the urban landscape and improve the air quality in our cities.”
Our resource-smart technology is designed to grow up to three tonnes of fresh food within a 650 square-meter area
She added that Soupah Kitchen farms could sustainably plant with 95% less water than traditional farms without chemical fertilizers. Yields from the company’s farm are 30% larger than those of conventional farms and are produced in half the time.
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Using vertical hydroponic technology, Soupah Kitchen can cultivate 1,600kg of vegetables within a 26-day cycle.
A desire to expand her business and impact led Olatayo to apply for the YouthADAPT program.
“With the YouthADAPT opportunity, my enterprise received funding of $100,000. This has been enormously helpful, and the investment made thus far in our implementation plan has had a demonstrable impact in strengthening our climate-conscious mission. The one-year accelerator program has enabled me to learn about the best financing options to scale our impact,” Olatayo said.
Soupah Kitchen plans to tap into blockchain technology to replicate and scale up the technology in other African countries.
In addition to the YouthADAPT funding, Soupah Kitchen received €10,000 from the Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria as a Food Connection Challenge Winner.
In recognition of the private sector’s critical role in closing financing gaps for green growth and building climate resilience, the African Development Bank Group has chosen as the theme for its 2023 Annual Meetings, Mobilizing Private Sector Financing for Climate and Green Growth in Africa.
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The Annual Meetings will take place from 22 to 26 May in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.