March 21, 2017


ASI and ACDI/VOCA Host Workshop on Technology Commercialization in East Africa

Including Panel Discussions and Keynote Speakers from AflaSTOP


On March 7, 2017, Agribusiness Systems International hosted a workshop with ACDI/VOCA and leaders from across the East African technology innovation community. At the one-day Tackling the Technology Commercialization Challenge conference in Nairobi, Kenya, participants shared and debated experiences, models, and challenges in getting new products and services into rural markets.

The event was organized by the USAID and BMGF-funded . AflaSTOP is leveraging scientifically rigorous research and human-centric design, grounded in marketplace realities, to support post-harvest storage solutions and develop and commercialize new drying technologies in order to prevent and control the spread of aflatoxin in maize.

Interactive discussions explored:

  • Hermetic storage and on-farm drying for maize
  • Successful business models and partnerships
  • Persistent challenges around manufacturing, financing, distribution, and marketing
  • Striking the balance between low-cost and high-quality

AflaSTOP was pleased to host two keynote speakers: John Staley, Chief Officer of Finance, Innovation & Payments at Equity Group Holdings and Anne Mbaabu, Head of Markets for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Mr. Staley spoke on the challenges in changing the lives of the poor through technology and innovation and provided reflections on overcoming these obstacles, building on Equity Group Holdings’ experience in the region. An audio recording of his keynote address is available, as well as a transcript. Many documents and organizations he mentions within his address can be found in the transcript, and the research that has happened on the scope of cash versus non-cash payment methods in Kenya can be accessed here. The hosts the “Kenya Financial Diaries” and other articles detailing the growing global issue of and concentration of resources. Likewise, Ms. Mbaabu’s presentation entitled, “Encouraging the Private Sector to Move into New Markets: AGRA’s Experience,” is available here.

After a welcome by Garron Hansen, Senior Program Officer, Agriculture, Global Development for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AflaSTOP facilitated interactive panel discussions with the following business innovation leaders:

  • Alan Spybey, Director of Product Intelligence and Development, KickStart International (irrigation pumps)
  • Aramé Awanis, Project Manager, M-KOPA Solar (solar home systems)
  • Aram DiGennaro, Managing Director, Elite Innovations (hermetic bags)
  • Tom de Bruin, Vice President Marketing and Sales, GrainPro (hermetic bags)
  • Bhubhinder Singh, Sales & Marketing Manager AtoZ (AgroZ hermetic bags)
  • Boston Nyer, Co-Founder and General Manager, BURN (cook stoves)
  • David Burii, Managing Director, Mwireri Engineering Workshop (small-scale manufacturing)
  • Lunah Njeri, National Sales Manager, Bell Industries (PICS hermetic bags)
  • Sophie Walker, AflaSTOP Chief of Party, ACDI/VOCA




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