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The Vice-Chancellor University of Rwanda will deliver the opening remarks as the Co-organiser for the conference - International Conference on Busines

Assignment Task

The Vice-Chancellor University of Rwanda will deliver the opening remarks as the Co-organiser for the conference – International Conference on Business Models in Agriculture conference that will be taking place in Kigali-Rwanda from the 27th -the 29th of March, 2023. Use the details below to write a compelling and persuasive speech for me. Key points will show the role of Research and academia in the advancement of agriculture in Africa, why the business world and investors should bridge the gap with academics and research to find solutions together, thank participants, and express the universities commitment to continue supporting the conference and the benefits it has on the universities.

Participants that will be at the conference

IBMA 2023 will bring together participants, including national delegations and key stakeholders from around the globe. These include leading government officials, business and agricultural academic experts, leading Agritech companies, researchers, innovators, NGOs, farmers and farmer’s leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, startups, etc.

MISSION for the Africa Organisation of Technology in Agriculture (this is an association that organises the IBMA conference)

  1. Exploiting a trillion market by tailoring and implementing business and operational models with technologies for African smallholder farmers.
  2. Alleviating smallholder farmers into the middle class by 2031 through developing export-oriented agro-industry businesses.

Introduction and why we created IBMA Conference.

  • Though we are close to the end of the first quarter of the 21st Century, the unexceptional is still happening; over fifty per cent of African farmers live in poverty from less than $ 1.9 / day.
  • These are people, primarily farmers, who want to earn a decent living and raise their children in the advanced environment of the 21st Century.
  • They are proud people who do not wish to continue living in poverty, and most importantly, they don’t want their children to live in poverty.
  • Smallholders live in the same Century as we are; they watch the same TV programs, have the same vendor smartphones as we have, and are entitled and deserve to have a better future. Yet, today it is far away and unattainable for them.
  • Farmers are the foundation and the central part of the agriculture and food value chain. They are involved in cultivating, processing, and supplying food; in practice, they dramatically influence countries’ economies, health, and prosperity.
  • Stop and think about the following status; farmers work for a living and do not ask for alms or donations. Yet, for many people and decision-makers, they are “transparent”.
  • Would you be ready to live for less than 1.9 $/day? Is it even human? Would you like to raise your children by so few means, helpless to impact your future, knowing their future will not be better than yours?

The International Conference on Business Models in Agriculture (IBMA) 2022 is Held under continuing distress, with no apparent solution to the plight of African smallholders.

  • The AOTA mission is to ignite a chain reaction to generate a pan-African reality change in agro. For this, we plan a broad, open and diversified discussion regarding the practical ways to fulfil the vision of alleviating smallholder farmers into the middle class by 2031.
  • The IBMAT conference focuses on the routing problem of smallholders with low income per hectare. We invite experts with hands-on experience to share their knowledge of increasing farmers’ income.
  • Preferred solutions to the low income per hectare problem include developing export-oriented agro-industry by implementing state-of-the-art combinations of business models and technologies.
  • As human beings, we say loud and clear that the situation in which smallholder farmers continue to live in poverty is unbearable. This statement is well addressed by the UN SDGs and requires no further explanations.
  • Poverty is the result of unsuccessful past and ongoing failed actions. Obviously, “more of the same” is not the solution. Quite the opposite, “more of the same” fixes poverty as a way of life for future generations.

Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.”

  • Hence, there is an urgent need for a CHANGE – a radical change – in the perception of farmers’ poverty and the time frame for expected results.
  • Such a move is complex and deserves to be led jointly by involved stakeholders, including governments, private and public organisations, NGOs, food processors, exporters and importers of agro-produce, consumers’ organisations, and above all, by farmers.
  • What, How, Where, and by WHOME should this be done?
  • Many questions await an answer. Though we don’t know the answers, we know that; there is an urgent need for a significant change! For this, we need practical and straightforward solutions to apply.

The AOTA conference sends a clear message to farmers, to value chain partners in the agro-sector, and to relevant governments:

  1. The time to act has arrived, and it is now.
  2. The change will result from combined human efforts with tailored business models and technologies.
  3. The business opportunity for nations and the private sector is immense. It transfers hundreds of millions of farmers from “agriculture” to “agro-industry”.
  • This conference will provide an open and extensive platform to present business-oriented models, approaches, and technologies that have the power to bring about the coveted revolution. In other words, we offer a platform to show game-changing models with actual field results. 
  • The IBMAT Conference and Expo 2022 is inspired by Prof. Clayton Christenson, who passed away three years ago. Still, his legacy serves as inspiration for what can bring the solution to the state and plight of African farmers.
  • Professor Christenson devoted much of his lifework and research to the study of innovation, particularly Disruptive Innovation. Prof. Christenson’s work shows that no other innovation but Disruptive Innovation can create jobs and jump-start national economies.
  • Disruptive Innovation occurs when there is a combination of technology with an innovative business model/concept that is catered toward a population segment that, at the same time, has no answer to its needs but is ready to accept the new service/product/approach.
  • We see in modern history how an attempt to infuse technology, not as part of an overall business model, has consistently failed, even in generously funded projects.
  • Out of a desire and commitment to lead African farmers to a promising future, we follow Professor Christenson’s theory of Disruptive Innovation as the main path to job creation, economic growth, and prosperity.
  • Most African smallholder farmers practice agriculture based on a revolution 12,000 years ago to produce enough food for the family to survive. In the 21st Century, that is insufficient, as modern life demands exceed the basic need to physically “survive”.
  • To “survive” in the 21st Century, according to current standards, farmers must switch to agro-industry, which integrates the old agriculture revolution with the recent industrial revolution, only 200 years old.
  • This gigantic step will require extraordinary measures, which we believe only Disruptive Innovation can provide. Thanks to Prof. Christenson’s pioneer work, we know that Disruptive Innovation will create a vibrant and prosperous Agro-industry with millions of new profitable jobs and economic growth across Africa.

In this spirit, The IBMAT Conference and Expo 2022 emphasises projects of a Disruptive Innovation nature that combine:

  • Business models, with priority to innovative models – tested or field-tested!
  • Technologies can execute the innovative business model (including none-innovative technologies).
  • Focus on smallholders – they stand at the heart of the global effort to eliminate poverty and bring them and their nations prosperity.
  • Results-driven – can present field-proven results of the relative and absolute economic change they bring towards creating prosperity.
  • Timeline – projects that can present a clear expected future success, based on past activities and field result.

We invite you to present your projects in which a combination of these components is made to achieve the desired change.

  • The conference will choose and present unique success projects that point to Africa’s agro-sector changes needed to step forward.
  • This is your chance to teach and learn how you can change the status quo.
  • This is your chance to introduce your understanding, life works, results, and insights and share those with the rest of the world. This is also an excellent opportunity for learning from others and mingling that will help you improve your activity’s results.

The following are the criteria by which the conference management will select the projects that will be eligible to be presented:

  1. Sustainable – on a business basis (even without external support).
  2. Increase in revenue – in percentages and absolute numbers per hectare/production unit.
  3. Potential global impact – the scope and ability to apply to different crops, animals, farmers, and countries.
  4. Time – the pace of change /income growth as a function of time.
  5. Persistence – the model/project should be able to generate long-term and continuous income growth.
  6. In line with UN SDG.
  7. Creating economic abundance (instead of preventing hunger and poverty).
  8. Export – project model with potential export products.
  9. Moving from agriculture to agro-industry – a project leading to the industrialisation of the agro-sector and converting the scope of a hectare from a “food creation unit” to an income-creating “business value unit.”
  10. Accessible and affordable for smallholders.
  11. Creates impact at the national level – jobs, the influx of foreign currency, increased tax payment, legacy, skills, know-how, etc
  • Hence, this conference aims to expose its participants and provide the opportunity to see leading cut projects that combine state-of-the-art business models with technologies to benefit smallholders in Africa.
  • Every entrepreneur knows that “the greater the difficulty and pain, the greater the business opportunity.” We conclude that Africa has many business opportunities to propose to various entrepreneurs!
  • Solving the problems of smallholders in Africa is a broad cushion for development and growth for regulators, scientists, business and technological innovation, and farmers.
  • To date, countless conferences have been held, focusing only on technological innovation.
  • At this conference, the focus is on the innovation of the BUSINESS MODEL, which incorporates technology and trade. This is your chance to present and see ground-breaking innovation.

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