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Planning the upcoming ICT4AG hackathon

CTA is organising a hackathon as part of the international ICT4AG conference taking place in Kigali this November. This is the first time CTA has organised this type of event.

Hackathons are great environments for the cultivation of solutions and ideas over a short period of time. However, most of these ideas are never finalized or used due to a lack of investment from market stakeholders. To battle this, ICT4AG hopes to bring stakeholders and developers together, in an environment that can foster development of new ideas and solutions to agricultural issues.

Running parallel with the conference, the hackathon will serve as a real-time incubation of problem solving in the agricultural sector. It will promote the development of ICT applications that support information sharing and dissemination, showcases the potential of ICT applications in agriculture, and supports the development of innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture.

In partnership with ICT hubs/labs in East Africa, the hackathon will be organized into ICT innovation spaces where teams of developers and entrepreneurs are provided with training, connectivity, and contact with investors, businesses, and developments stakeholders. After the hackathon and a pitching exercise, the best team and their ICT innovation space will receive awards. This competition spurs the innovation space to coach the winning team and support them in the finalization of their products.

A consultative meeting to discuss the hackathon is taking place on 16-17 July 2013 in Kigali, Rwanda. The meeting is organized with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and the Minister of Youth and ICT (MYICT). Representatives from the public and private sector including ICT hubs, agricultural ministry representatives, and FOs from the region, along with participating international organizations, will attend. At the meeting, the key agricultural information challenges will be chosen to be developed at the hackathon. The practical organization of the hackathon and the exchange between partnerships will also be discussed.

As a pilot project, the hackathon will be focused only on East Africa. This region was chosen due to the number of experienced ICT hubs that are already in most of its countries. The limited coverage will favour local dynamics, and help CTA and its partners to better control the parameters and maximize the learning experience of the participants. Anything learned will be shared with other regions. If this event receives positive feedback other initiatives in other regions could be launched or supported in the future.

For further information on the hackathon visit the ICT4Ag website.