In collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Ignite National Technology Fund and Ministry of IT & Telecom (MoITT) has launched an “Agrisurge Innovation Challenge” to jointly work for the development of Pakistan’s agriculture sector using technology.
After signing the framework collaboration agreement between the Ministry of IT and the Food and Agriculture Organization, Agrisurge Innovation Challenge was launched in June 2020. The winners of the challenge were announced at a joint event held in Islamabad today.
The event was attended by Mr. Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Federal Secretary IT & Telecom, CEO and officials from Ignite, MoITT, the UN agencies, development partners, and winning teams of the challenge.
Speaking at the occasion, Federal Secretary IT, Mr. Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, said that this challenge was launched to strengthen agriculture, which is important for the economic development of Pakistan. Looking at the innovative solutions and the passion with which participants from all across Pakistan competed, it is evident that our tech-savvy youth is ready to address the challenges and problems faced by the agriculture sector through technological interventions. He said,
I’m happy that the women-led team clinched the 1st prize rather than settling for the special prize we earlier kept for any such team.
Ms. Rebekah Bell, FAO Representative in Pakistan, stated that the Agrisurge Innovation Challenge would serve as an important step towards achieving food security and improving the lives of the most vulnerable across Pakistan at a time when livelihoods are severely disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
FAO Pakistan is helping the country ensure systematic improvement in Agriculture by introducing innovation and shifting the “Business as Usual Models” to more innovative approaches. Data-driven global agriculture and digital innovations — artificial intelligence promise progressive changes in the farming landscape. FAO is confident that digital technologies used to generate innovative responses in the agriculture sector, referred to as e-Agriculture, will revolutionize the agriculture sector of the country.
Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, CEO Ignite, stated,
the overwhelming response to Ignite and FAO’s call for innovative solutions in the field of agriculture reflects the significance of the sensitivities of food security in the country. We will continue to explore new solutions besides strengthening the partnership with the winners of this challenge. I hope this competition will ignite the farming community and would be a founding step in solving agriculture-related problems using technology.
Around 738 participants applied for the challenge and the selected teams submitted their working prototypes for evaluation. The projects were evaluated by independent judges appointed by Ignite and FAO, including local and international experts.
Smart Ecosystem for Bees ‘Silver Bees’ won the first cash prize for its solution to digitalize the ecosystem for beekeeping and honey farming. Whereas Smart Poultry Farming’s ‘SmartFarms’ came second for their IoT sensors-based solution. The 3rd cash prize was won by FarmMach Share ‘CyberVision’ for providing a comprehensive digital solution to help farmers exploit the potential of existing farm machinery.
A special cash prize was won by Humaray Khayt ‘Tech 3PO’ for developing an application that provides separate interfaces for each type of crop and operates with pictorials in Urdu.