Ghanaian Fishbowl Challenge Winner To Eradicate Post-Harvest Losses In Africa
Ghanaian undergraduate Mathias Charles Yabe who emerged as a winner of the second edition of the Fishbowl Challenge is on a mission to eradicate post-harvest losses in Ghana and ultimately Africa.
The Fishbowl Challenge is a global entrepreneurship competition founded by past senior executives of Google and business leaders to bring college students together from around the world to solve the world’s most complex social and environmental problems.
The Undergraduate is currently studying Design Communications at Kwame Nkrumah University of Ghana(KNUST) and a member of Enactus, an international organization that brings students together to leverage entrepreneurial actions to transform lives. He has been actively involved in volunteering activities and social impact projects in his community and school for the past three years.
In 2019 he was selected to join the Millennium fellowship class of 2019 which is an initiative of the United Nations Academic Impact and MCN.
This program convenes, challenges, and celebrates bold student leadership advancing the Sustainable Development Goals on campus and in communities.
Alongside, he has a keen interest in sustainability, design, and technology. This has been the driving force towards his newest achievement, AkoFresh. Mathias has teamed up with two foreign students from Finland and India to set up AkoFresh, an agritech company that seeks to eradicate post-harvest losses in Africa while giving farmers the bargaining power and increase their seasonal income to $1million.
Mathias tells Digital Times Africa that his inspiration for AkoFresh is to provide a solution to the issue of post-harvest losses in Ghana.
“According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted every year around the globe. Most importantly, food wastage’s carbon footprint is estimated to be 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gasses, released into the atmosphere each year as a result of crop waste.”
“Post-harvest losses are a major contributor to global food waste. Most often we see our grandmothers and parents work hard on their farms but they end up not getting any money from their yield since their produce is lost to post-harvest losses.”
“These losses affect the financial stability of smallholder farmers since farming is their main source of income to fend for themselves and families. This is what inspired me to hunt for solutions”
“My team and I really did a lot of research on the problem since the competition was a very fierce one and we wanted the judges to understand the depth of the program facing farmers.” the co-founder states.
Speaking on his challenges, the social activist mentioned that the different time zones made it difficult to communicate with one another. He also stated that combining his academics with the competition activities was no easy task.
Despite it all, the wonder to this is that Mathias is studying a course that is in no way relatable to this startup.
“Surprisingly what I am studying is not directly related to the startup. When I developed a love for social Entrepreneurship I had to take online courses and attend many conferences about entrepreneurship now I will focus on this startup because helping smallholder farmers in Africa is dear to my heart. In the future, I will carve a carrier out of my studies but for now, I will focus on the startup” the activist says in an interview with Digital Times Africa.
Mathias hopes to see young people like himself bringing up innovative ideas to help solve the challenges facing the agricultural sector which he believes will go a long way.