Rockefeller: Sarura Commodities “Leading Catalytic Innovation” in African Agriculture
September 20, 2013
The groundbreaking work conducted by RIU Rwanda on addressing inefficiencies in maize markets, which formed the basis of the inventory-credit financing and crop storage services offered by the social enterprise Sarura Commodities, has been recognised as one of the leading innovations in the African agricultural sector.
As part of their Centennial Series of meetings, the Rockefeller Foundation recently hosted a prestigious conference “Realizing the Potential of African Agriculture: Catalytic Innovations for Growth” in Abuja, Nigeria. The gathering of senior leaders in agriculture and finance was focused on identifying concrete ways to strengthen African agricultural markets and value chains to benefit economies and small holder farmers. This invitation-only meeting included heads of state and government ministers from across Africa as well as top business leaders and decision-makers from a variety of sectors.
Ahead of the meeting, the Rockefeller Foundation identified eight “Catalytic Innovations” for across the continent that had the potential to make a difference, at scale, in improving African agriculture systems and markets.
Augustin Mutijima, CEO of Sarura Commodities and former head of RIU Rwanda was “delighted at the recognition of the importance of the innovations developed under DFID-funded RIU programme and subsequently commercialised by Sarura in partnership with H2O Venture Partners.” He further commented that the “platform offered by such a Rockefeller Centennial gathering was a unique opportunity for Sarura to forge new partnerships to drive growth, deliver impact for it small-holder farmer clients, and contribute towards realising the full potential of African agriculture”.
RIU (Research Into Use) was a UK Department for International Development program dedicated to improving the access of smallholder farmers to knowledge, technology, and researchers to foster innovation and implementation of best practices. RIU Rwanda founded the Maize Innovation Platform in Nyagatare in 2008 to allow stakeholders in the maize sector to collectively reflect and identify constraints and opportunities. In 2012, Sarura Commodities was established to commercial the “warrantage” system, a form of informal warehouse receipt system, to addresses farmers’ issues with cash-flow issues and fair access to valuable markets. As a commercial operation, Sarura is expanding the warrantage service beyond the in foot-print of the RIU programme and in a profitable and so sustainable manner, while delivering improved financial returns to its smallholder client base.
For more information on the Rockefeller Centennial visit: