Developing the Largest Agri-food Distribution Network in Africa

Lucien Medjiko (MCF Scholar, Benin) holds a bachelor’s degree in computer security from the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin. Lucien’s passion of merging agriculture and tech developed from his desire to solve the challenge of post-harvest loss experienced by farmers in his community. He established BioLife Tech, a social enterprise that creates innovative and cutting-edge AgriTech solutions for agri-food distribution. Learn more about Lucien’s career journey.

A short bio about yourself (what you do, interests, passions, hobbies)

Lucien Medjiko (Benin) is a former Mastercard Foundation Fellow. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer security from the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin. Lucien is a co-founder and managing partner of BioLife Tech, an Agritech company that develops innovative, cutting-edge AgriTech solutions that change the lives of countless people in Benin and beyond. He is a recipient of the Resolution Fellowship, awarded by the Resolution Project to young leaders with the most compelling personal leadership characteristics and promising social enterprise proposals. Lucien plans to pursue a master’s degree with a major in cybersecurity at one of the world’s top universities in this field.

Tell us about your venture (when did you start it, what challenges you faced or are still facing?)

Biolife tech is one of Benin’s agri-tech companies creating social impact while transforming the local food economy. Founded in January 2020, Biolife tech aims to develop the largest agri-food distribution network in Africa. We envision positively impacting the lives of over 5,000,000 agripreneurs by 2030. With this goal in mind, Biolife tech’s operations have expanded to include product sourcing, food processing, branding and marketing, last mile distribution and agricultural inputs. This allows Biolife tech to control the end-to-end food value chain.

BioLife Tech, in partnership with Enabel (Belgium agency for development), has created the e-pineA a platform that quickly and easily connects pineapple producers in Benin with local processing units, exporters and traders. Launched in July 2022, e-pineA currently has more than 1,000 pineapple producers and more than 300 potential buyers (processing plants, exporters and local traders).

Beyond its specialization in Agritech solutions, BioLife Tech, as a software engineering company, supports companies of all sizes and industries in their digital transformation by providing Web & Mobile application platform development services that effectively meet their performance and growth needs.

What inspired you to start the business?

As a farmer’s child, I understood very early the market access challenges that my parents and people around me were facing. This was causing huge post-harvest losses and further impoverishing the farmers. I had in mind to solve this market access problem and many other problems of the agricultural sector using new information technologies.

What plans do you have for your business (what you hope to achieve in the next 5 years)?

In the next 5 years, we intend to develop sufficiently to extend our actions to other countries in the West African sub-region (Senegal, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali). To do this, we are working in the next two years to establish ourselves and dominate the Beninese national market through the mastery of marketing channels for agricultural products including pineapple, rice, cashew and market gardening. The achievement of this objective requires investments which we expect to have through fund raising by the end of 2024 to be able to launch the extension program in the three countries.

What do you think is the impact that your business has in the community?

  • – With e-pineA, we have already helped more than 500 producers to sell their pineapple production
  • – We have initiated more than 1500 stockholders in pineapple sector to digital literacy
  • – We have trained more than 1000 stockholders of the pineapple sector in Benin, mainly women and youth, in the use of the e-pineA application
  • – We have trained more than 20 women processors in the marketing brand to facilitate the marketing of their products (dried pineapple, pineapple juice, pineapple powder, …).

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