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Onion Doctor Limited

On the Kenyan agribusiness landscape is Lucy Wangari, a vision-driven agripreneur whose tenacity and innovation toward climate adaptation are leaving a mark in the onion farming space in Kenya. She is the founder and lead consultant at Onion Doctor Limited, proof of how innovation, youth empowerment, and sustainable practices can drive transformative power in agribusiness.

Genesis of a visionary

Lucy’s professional journey in the onion industry commenced following an internship at Veteran Farms in Kikuyu Town, Kenya. With a postgraduate diploma in Advanced Agriculture and a degree in Land Resource Planning and Management, Lucy seamlessly transitioned from agronomist to agripreneur, a shift as natural and organic as the crops she cultivates. It is amidst the hustle and bustle of farm life that her curiosity for onions was piqued, fostered by the influence of onion farming features she watched on television and radio.

Motivated by a desire to empower farmers and inspired by her own experiences, Lucy set out to revolutionize onion farming. In 2020, she established a consultancy for commercial onion farmers, which has since evolved into a significant player in agricultural sustainability. After gaining three years of practical experience and building extensive social capital, Lucy launched Onion Doctor. This innovative venture leverages cutting-edge technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning, to steer the era of precision agriculture.

Growth, impact and recognition

Lucy’s dedication and innovation has not gone unnoticed. In 2021, she was honored as one of the “Top 35 under 35” agripreneurs, in recognition of her contribution to bringing change and economic growth in the agricultural sector. Beyond recognition, the most rewarding aspect for Lucy is the positive impact she has made on farmers’ lives as a result of her dedicated efforts.

John, a smallholder farmer from an arid region in Kenya, testifies to the impact of the Onion Doctor: “Being a farmer in an arid region, I always find it hard to get agricultural solutions that would work in our harsh climates. Onion Doctor has been above my mark. Their drought-tolerant seedlings are a wonder, and with their agronomical support, I have learned that there are correct ways of cultivation. And so far, the climate-smart irrigation system they set up here has gone a long way to help me with water conservation as well as getting the best from my crops.”

Another satisfied smallholder farmer, Samuel, highlights the transformative impact Onion Doctor has had on his community, noting that the introduction of onion and garlic farming has not only boosted earnings but also generated employment opportunities.

Lucy’s advocacy does not just end in the fields; it transcends traditional boundaries into the digital world. In the domain of digital agribusiness, she is a nano-influencer with a huge presence across all social media channels. It helps to bridge the gap between traditional farming and modern technologies. With her blogs, online communities, and social networks, Lucy democratizes knowledge access for over one thousand farmers, enabling them to be innovative and adapt to challenges.

Championing youth and women empowerment

Lucy is a great inspiration to many – to the youth as an agripreneur, and to women in agribusiness. Her journey with Onion Doctor not only tells how entrepreneurship can be transformational, but also how women are at the center of leading agricultural innovation.

In Lucy’s world, onions are more than a crop; they are a harbinger of positive change, a symbol of resilience, and an enabler of empowerment. In the 2023 YouthADAPT Challenge, facilitated through the African Climate Change Fund (ACCF), implemented under the African Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) through the joint efforts of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), Onion Doctor Onion Doctor exemplifies the collaborative efforts of innovative youth and women in driving climate adaptation and resilience.

With the 2023 YouthADAPT Challenge’s mentor-mentee engagement now underway, this strategic mentorship with technical experts will not only empowers Lucy but also propel her closer to her vision of transforming the arid and semi-arid regions of Africa into vibrant, profitable, and sustainable onion and garlic production hubs by 2040. By focusing on this vision, the program aligns with its key goal of empowering young women innovators, fostering job creation, and promoting entrepreneurship in climate adaptation and resilience. Through these collective efforts, the challenge showcases that entrepreneurship and sustainable agricultural practices are not mutually exclusive, but rather, mutually reinforcing means of driving transformation.