About Us |   Our Focus | Our Guiding Principles | Our Practice Areas | How We Work | Contact Us | Careers

       
 

About us 

Agri Experience is a consulting firm specializing in advisory services for seed system development in sub-Saharan Africa. The company’s founder has more than 23 years of private sector seed experience, and an additional 10 years of international finance and management experience. Agri Experience was launched in 2012 to provide a platform for seed industry professionals to leverage their expertise in delivery of service to Africa’s seed sector. The Agri Experience team has significant agricultural field experience in over 15 countries in Africa, in addition to the US.


Aline O’Connor, Founder and Consultant   Spotlight on Key Practice Area

Aline is the former CEO of Channel Bio Corp., a large US-based row crop seed company which she co-founded in 1991. Since 2008 she has worked full time as a consultant on seed system development in sub-Saharan Africa.

Her work has taken her to more than 15 countries, and involved 100+ field visits with seed production entities..


She is the author/editor of The African Seed Company Toolbox: 52 Tools Every Seed Company Manager Should Know How To Use.

She currently teaches at the University of Nairobi’s Seed Enterprise Management Institute (SEMIs), for which she is a founding collaborator, and at the West African Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana, Legon, in the PhD crop breeding program.

She also serves on the Investment Committee of the African Seed Investment Fund. In addition to 20 years in the seed sector, Aline spent 10 years in the international commercial finance sector, rising to the level of Vice President. Aline has a BA from Georgetown University and an MBA from the University of Chicago, both in the US.

 

Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) has initiated a new partnership with Agri Experience, Ltd. that aims to work with local sector participants to transform the seed sector in Kenya. The purpose of the partnership is to facilitate change in the sector so that it is more efficient, innovative and inclusive. This will subsequently enable greater productivity by smallholder farmers in various agricultural sectors.

Seeds are one of the least expensive but most important factors influencing agricultural yield potential. If not prioritised, they can negatively affect the yield potential of farmers’ crops more than any other input factor. Through this partnership KMT and Agri Experience, working closely with seed sector participants, aspire to do the following:

  • Encourage policy formulation and implementation on the basis of regional evidence and learning, transparency, and private sector participation
  • Enhance linkages between key players in the sector such as input and equipment firms, research organisations, trade associations, universities and financial institutions
  • Strengthen the adoption of better business management and marketing practices among Kenyan firms as well as increased investment by international companies to strengthen production and access to high quality seeds by smallholder farmers.
  • Promote a shift in the marketing/retailing of seeds from trader focused to customer focused, leading to improved business relationships among all actors.

KMT’s engagement with Agri Experience in the seed sector is part of the larger Market Assistance Programme which is a multi-donor project designed to transform key agricultural markets and service sectors, mainly in rural areas of Kenya. To learn more about KMT’s work in agriculture, see www.kenyamarkets.org.

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Our Focus
We focus on building and supporting African seed sector participants as well as entities whose performance is dependent upon seed availability and quality. Clients range from commercial seed companies to food processors to government entities to investors and donors in the seed sector.  

Our Guiding Principles

  • We are committed to building locally responsive seed systems using local talent, country by country
  • We are guided by the values of integrity and transparency
  • We are committed to seed systems that have been proven to work for farmers
  • Our business activities are based on a triple bottom line philosophy:
    1. Improve smallholder farmer and seed producer productivity (social impact)
    2. Build local talent in the seed sector (capacity development)
    3. Be financially stable in order to sustain our work  (organizational strength) 
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Our Practice Areas Related To Seed Systems

Business strategy and development
Market and policy analysis
Technical support
Finance
Information and communications technology
Marketing support  
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Examples of prior assignments include:

  • Policy recommendations for a donor that was advising on seed system development in Ethiopia
  • Multiple site visits to review and improve production and processing operations for a start-up seed company in Mozambique
  • Intensive coaching on how to use management accounting to improve profitability for a young seed company in Ghana
  • Site visits in sub-Saharan Africa for a British social investment firm to advise on their participation in seed system investments
  • Advisory support and written recommendations, backed by field visits, to a group working on improving seed system policy in Nigeria.
  • Site visit to India to study seed system development there and identify possible lessons for seed system development in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Development of an inventory tracking system for a seed company in Mali that was mechanizing their processing operations
  • Technical advisory support for an American NGO developing a lending program for seed companies in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Design and delivery of workshop in Burkina Faso for seed production entities based throughout West Africa
  • Advice to Kenyan seed company seeking financing on budgeting, cash flow, and financial statement preparation
  • Training sessions for Liberian and Sierra Leonean companies on how to  increase farmer awareness and adoption of improved seed 
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How We Work
We work in partnership with our clients to achieve jointly identified goals.  Our consulting arrangements generally fall into the following categories, but we are happy to discuss alternate approaches.

  • Annual retainer for collaborative advisory services on an as-requested basis by the client
  • Short term project-related advisory services
  • Longer term assignments working collaboratively as part of a team
  • Sponsorship of the African Seed Enterprise Growth Facility, which enables us to provide one-on-one consulting for emerging and mid-sized African seed companies and develop seed-specific business tools, such as finance templates and quality control procedures, for them
 

The African Seed Enterprise Growth Facility is a shared-cost vehicle for providing coaching and critical support services and products to mid-stage African seed companies. The costs are shared by AgriExperience, the client seed companies, and donors who provide valuable underwriting for these services.

Donor funds also support product development in the areas of accounting, finance, marketing, production, strategy, and governance. Please contact us if you are a potential underwriter or client for the African Seed Enterprise Growth Facility.

 


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Contact Us
Agri Experience Ltd
P.O. Box 1720 - 00606,
Nairobi
Kenya
Tel: +254 (20) 2626888
Cell: +254 (719) 554 154
Email: info@agri-experience.com
Website : www.agri-experience.com



 

 

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As our name implies, we have deep experience 
in agriculture, particularly in seed

 

 

 
What We Believe
   


Sorghum, Burkina Faso


Soya, Kenya


Maize trial, Mali


Climbing beans, Rwanda


Soya, Burkina Faso

 

 

We believe that agriculture is one of the most important sectors in the world – having major impacts on health, nutrition, the environment, security, economies, and social development

We believe that sub-Saharan Africa has vast untapped agricultural potential, and that African farmers and entrepreneurs should be given the opportunity and tools to tap this potential

We believe that practical solutions to agricultural challenges, based on deep experience, can deliver significant results in sub-Saharan Africa, and that theory does not substitute for experience

We believe that Africa’s women farmers should play significant roles in developing agriculture in their countries

We believe that seed systems are one of the key foundation stones upon which a strong agriculture sector must rest. 

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Our clients and partners understand the need
for sustainable seed systems.  They are committed
to developing these systems so that African farmers
can access, on a reliable and affordable basis,
the same quality of resources available to
farmers in other parts of the world.

 
 
Mususya Kaisali, farmer, Mutitu, Kenya, after planting improved hybrid maize seed
   

  We have extensive experience in:

  • Training, for both small and large groups
  • Due diligence for funds, corporate investors, and donors
  • Strategy development for an overall entity, or a specific department
  • Market assessment, including structure, trends, opportunities, and key issues
  • Finance, including financial analysis, control, and investment decisions
  • Staff recruitment for business functions
  • Business coaching, for individuals or teams

Cassava, Rwanda

   
    Our African Outreach
    Rice seed harvest, Sierra Leone
   
    Hybrid maize seed ears, Malawi     Seed quality field training, Ethiopia
    Improved yellow maize, Mali
Maize trial, Mali
 
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