Releaf is an agritech company that is industrializing oil palm processing and increasing its production in Africa. It was founded in 2017 by Ikenna Nzewi and Uzoma Ayogu. The Kraken machine was created by this purpose-driven agritech business to expedite palm nut processing and minimize waste.
Additionally, Releaf assists farmers in increasing their productivity and promotes ecologically responsible farming practices. It inspired more than a thousand smallholder farmers to supply 7.5 million kg of high-quality crops to food processors in less than 18 months.
The history of Releaf demonstrates how the firm has developed and found success in the agricultural supply chain.
In 2021, Releaf raised $2.7 million for starting funds and received grants totaling $1.5 million from USAID and The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment, demonstrating that investors appear to have a great deal of confidence in their decisions (CFYE). Last year, the business and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) also worked together.
Releaf, though a young agritech company by its standard, has every aspiration to establish itself as a dominant force in the agritech platform.
For a short period of time, it served as a marketplace that brought together buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities.
The founders realized while doing this that food factories lacked access to enough high-quality raw materials to run their plants at full capacity. Because their production expenses are often fixed, if they can’t operate at their best, they will pass these costs on to the customer.
The founders decided to research the market first after learning their lesson about leading with solutions. They spoke with farmers and studied the market’s operations for a while. With this information, they shifted their attention from a market to an agro-processor that produced palm kernel oil (PKO).
PKO, which is derived from the palm seed or kernel, is frequently utilized in the food processing and cosmetics industries. Furthermore, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) analysis states that it accounts for around 45% of Nigeria’s fat consumption.
However, it can be challenging to get high-quality PKO, and the majority of firms rely on smallholder farmers, who produce around 80% of the sector’s output. Some people import everything they require.
These farmers must manually break the kernels since they receive minimal financial help, squandering valuable labor hours that could be used to make palm oil.
Releaf plays in this area. Before selling to companies, they purchase the palm nuts and turn them into PKO using a machine they built called Kraken.
The capital of Akwa Ibom State, Uyo, is where their factory is situated. It turns out that 42% of Nigeria’s palm oil output takes place in the South-South region of the country.
According to Nzewi, who represents the startup, many have attempted to adapt Western ideas for food production to Nigeria since they perceive it as a nation with a large population. The food processing sector has had the same problems, which is why the majority of food processing factories are located in major cities like Ibadan, Kaduna, or Lagos.
They are massive factories with a lot of capacity, but when you visit them, you’ll notice that only about 30% of that capacity is being utilized. This is typically due to the companies’ inability to obtain high-quality raw materials.
While food producers in the West frequently have the luxury of getting raw materials from sizable farms, Nzewi notes that the same approach cannot be used in Africa. Building factories in these large towns forces them to purchase their raw materials from far-off farms, raising the cost of production.
Consequently, they can’t pay farmers well. However, by locating factories close to these farmers, Releaf can help them increase their productivity and pay them more than the bigger factories.
Palm trees grow in other parts of Africa, and Nzewi revealed expansion plans in the works.
“We’re not just trying to colour the African map with a presence in different countries, but we’re more focused on deep impact. That’s why I talk about things like the volume mentality and increasing the income of one of our smallholders 5x because that’s the type of impact you should expect to see with Releaf,” he says.
Thus, they are unable to adequately compensate farmers. Releaf, on the other hand, may assist these farmers boost their output and earn more money than the larger manufacturers by placing factories next to them.
Other sections of Africa have palm tree habitats, and Nzewi mentioned future expansion ambitions.
Nzewi states they are more concerned with having a profound influence rather than just aiming to add presence to the African continent’s various nations.
In order to illustrate the kind of impact that should be anticipated from Releaf, he uses examples like the volume mentality and a 5x increase in one of our smallholders’ revenue.
Nigeria has experience with PKO production, but Releaf stands out due to its volume and technology. The company states that it has the capacity to create 500 tonnes of PKO each week. Furthermore, Kraken can shatter palm kernel nuts with a 95% efficiency rate, resulting in minimal waste.
Releaf has a significant competitive edge over smallholder farmers because of the 3,000 farmers in its network who provide them with the essential raw materials.
On plans for the future
Releaf intends to establish a network of decentralized manufacturers utilizing its technology adjacent to the continent’s most productive agricultural regions.
However, they demonstrated a readiness to modify their strategy if it is consistent with their broader goal of empowering companies and farmers.
Africa contains 60% of the world’s uncultivated land, and experts think that continent can feed the globe with the help of technology and sufficient support from research institutions.
Releaf is vying for a piece of the $61 billion global palm oil market with the aid of Kraken.
Nigerian employers of labor frequently lament the youth’s lack of employability. Nzewi nonetheless claims that despite the challenges, competent individuals helped in the creation of Kraken.
Ayogu’s mechanical engineering degree from Duke University and prior employment at General Electric were significant assets.
UK Government To Set Online Bill Criminalizing Self Harm
In an effort to stop what it calls “tragic and preventable deaths caused by people seeing self-harm content online,” the UK government has announced it will further broaden the scope of online safety legislation by making encouraging self-harm a crime.
According to the most recent modification to the divisive but popular Online Safety Bill, in-scope platforms would be compelled to remove anything that purposefully encourages someone to physically harm themselves, or face legal repercussions.
The government intends to tackle “abhorrent trolls urging the young and vulnerable to self-harm,” according to the secretary of state for digital. People who post such content online may also be prosecuted under the new offence of encouraging self injury.
The maximum fines will be announced in due time, according to the administration.
In the UK, it is already unlawful to promote or aid suicide, whether in person or online. By creating a new offense, self-harm content will now be subject to the same laws that already ban suicide promotion.
Following a snag, last summer associated with political unrest in the ruling Conservative Party, the Online Safety Bill’s progress through parliament is now on hold. However, the newly reorganized UK government has declared that it will reintroduce the measure to parliament next month after making changes to the law.
The abuse of intimate imagery is a problem that will be addressed by recent revisions to the Online Safety Bill, which was just made public by the Ministry of Justice. However, other revisions are planned regarding “legal but harmful” information, thus the final form of the Act is still up in the air.
The government responded to concerns about the bill’s impact on online freedom of expression a few months ago. The (new) secretary of state, Michelle Donelan, announced in September that she would be “editing” the bill to lessen concern about its impact on “legal but harmful” speech for adults.
The most recent changes, making it illegal to send online communications encouraging self harm, came after that announcement.
Donelan was quoted by the BBC as claiming that Molly Russell, a 14-year-old teenager who committed suicide five years ago after watching thousands of online articles on self-harm and suicide on websites like Instagram and Pinterest, was a factor in the most recent changes.
Social media was found to have contributed to Russell’s death, according to the results of an inquest into her death in September. While the coroner’s “prevention of future deaths” report from last month that a number of steps be done to control and monitor young people’s access to social media content.
The addition of the crime of promoting self harm, according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, will outlaw “one of the most worrying and prevalent internet harms that now falls below the threshold of criminal behavior.”
Donelan stated in a statement:
“I am determined that the abhorrent trolls encouraging the young and vulnerable to self-harm are brought to justice.
“So I am strengthening our online safety laws to make sure these vile acts are stamped out and the perpetrators face jail time.
“Social media firms can no longer remain silent bystanders either and they’ll face fines for allowing this abusive and destructive behaviour to continue on their platforms under our laws.”
Hate crimes, rules regarding revenge porn (including disseminating deepfake porn without content), harassment, and cyberstalking are among the other top criminal offenses already mentioned in the bill.
Regardless of what the measure states on paper, there are still a lot of unknowns regarding how platforms will react to having legal obligations imposed on them to police all forms of speech, as well as if it would actually increase web user safety as claimed.
Critics worry that the regime will have a chilling effect by turning platforms into de facto speech police and encouraging them to overblock content in order to reduce their legal risk of paying a hefty fine.
The regime’s penalties scale up to 10% of global annual turnover, and non-cooperative senior executives even run the risk of going to jail.
On Monday, December 5, the bill is scheduled to return to parliament.
Twitter Amnesty Is What Elon Musk is Going For Next
Tesla CEO and newly appointed Twitter CEO, Elon Musk did promise a new dimension for the micro-blogging social media platform prior to taking over, and his actions recently, have just about lived up to the promise, but now, the billionaire is set for an ‘amnesty’ that surely will drive some political divides nuts if certain individuals are granted Twitter amnesty as he wants.
Elon Musk announced on Thursday that starting the next week, Twitter will provide suspended accounts “a general amnesty.” The day before, the platform’s CEO published a poll asking users if they thought affected accounts should be restored.
The announcement comes just after Musk lifted the platform’s restriction on former president Donald Trump after conducting a related poll. Trump declared he had no intention of returning to the platform despite being banned following the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Users of the Twitter platform who had their accounts suspended could rejoin the network “assuming they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam,” according to Musk’s user survey.
The survey received responses from about 3.2 million individuals, who voted 72.4% in favor of amnesty.
“The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk said, using a Latin phrase that means “The voice of the people is the voice of god.”
Historically, Twitter has deactivated accounts who advocate violence, celebrate hate and harassment, or persistently disseminate false information that may be harmful.
Some well-known people who were banned from the website include MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who made a number of claims that Trump actually won the 2020 presidential election, former Trump advisor and former executive chairman of Breitbart Steve Bannon, who said Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded, and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, who broke the website’s rule against violent extremist groups.
Considering that more voices with possibly negative views will be returning to the site, it’s unclear from Musk’s brief post how Twitter will handle content control going forward.
These worries have only grown as a result of Musk’s huge firings and the outflow of workers who would rather leave than remain “hardcore.”
Elon Musk is surely growing more unpopular by remaining popular these days.
Twitter Working On New Feature For Long Texts
Writing a thread on Twitter can be considered daunting especially when you have to divide the text into 280-character sections for it to make meaning.
Good news though as the platform is stated to be working on a way to convert lengthy texts into threads automatically.
When a tweet exceeds the 280-character limit, Twitter’s composer will automatically divide it into a thread, according to a tweet from app researcher Jane Manchun Wong.
Twitter wants to make making threads less difficult, as she stated in a message to a user (identified as me).
Currently, in order to add a tweet to a thread and post the subsequent 280 characters, users must click the Add button. This can be particularly unpleasant when you are trying out an idea or pasting information from another document.
Several users have recently brought up the difficulty posting to and reading conversations with more than a few tweets; the thread in question was 82 tweets long and focused on the defunct crypto-currency exchange FTX. In response, Musk stated that the team is working to make thread writing simpler.
It will be useful to have markers to designate the start and end of a tweet in the thread, although the exact implementation details remain unknown, as Financial Times product manager Matt Taylor noted. This makes it simpler for users to change the text in a way that doesn’t disrupt the reading flow.
Musk has previously addressed the problem of posting lengthy tweets. He previously stated that the social network is developing the capability to attach long-form content to tweets. If that will be a standalone feature from the new thread composer is unclear.
Currently, some users rely on third-party programs like Typefully, ThreadStart, and Chirr App, which offer capabilities like scheduling along with tools to automatically divide your post into threads without interfering with sentence flow.
Thanks to its acquisition of Threader the previous year, the company today provides Twitter Blue customers with a simple way to read threads. However, Musk hasn’t actually stated whether he is altering the reading experience for the typical user.
There is already a long-form writing program on Twitter called Notes, but it is exclusively available to a small number of writers, and under Musk’s leadership, its future is unclear.
Even though Twitter programmers are already working on it, it is unclear when the new composer tool for threads will launch. Since taking over the business, Musk has let go of more than half the employees.
Numerous executives have left, and the new leader even gave the remaining employees yesterday an ultimatum: either be “hardcore” or quit. There is no assurance that goods will be delivered on time in this situation.
The new Twitter Blue plan with a verification mark was hurriedly launched by the firm, only for the scheme to be discontinued a few days later. Musk stated earlier this week that the launch date had been moved to later in the month.
Wong just found code that suggests Twitter is working on encrypting direct communications from end to end.
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