The Pacific 2018 AgriHack Lab aims to identify and assess the potential for upscaling novel or existing ICT4Ag innovations for overcoming challenges in Pacific agriculture, agribusiness and value chain development namely: Communication and market development, Transport logistics and Capacity building of farmers/ SMEs.
In 2016, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) launched a four-year project on Promoting Nutritious Food Systems in the Pacific, which is implemented in partnership with the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO). The overall project goal is to “strengthen the capacity of the Pacific Island governments, farmer and private sector organisations, and sub-regional institutions to develop strategies and programmes, as well as mobilise financing, that can increase poor rural people’s access to nutritious and healthy food”. The project target countries are Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been identified as one of the most promising technologies for improving agricultural performance and increasing efficiencies in agribusiness and value chains. During the Regional Forum on Developing Pacific Local Food Crops & Fisheries Value Chains from 7-10 May 2018, in Suva, Fiji, three major action areas have been identified for the wider application of ICTs in support of the agricultural transformation in the region:
Communication and Market Development
Currently, there is a disconnect between the farmers/ SMEs (suppliers) and the buyers (e.g. hotels). Many farmers/ SMEs are unaware of the possible buyers and their needs; quantity, quality, preferred dates of delivery and price and vice versa. A disconnect also exists among the actor groups themselves; e.g. farmers can aggregate their offers to meet the needs of buyers e.g. hospitality and tourism sector or processors and exporters. Applications and platforms have been developed and piloted but success has been limited due to lack of continued funding or problems with ownership and property rights which hinder further use beyond the pilot phase. Appropriate policies, strategies and tools are needed to support the wider adoption of digital technologies and platforms that can boost productivity and competitiveness as well as improve responsiveness to market demands. ICT tools and platforms need to be user friendly, cost effective and respond to consumer needs; especially smallholder farmers and SMEs.
Transportation and Logistics
Famers face difficulties in transporting their products to the markets; lack of infrastructure and limited finance are two factors. A possible solution is the development and deployment of a tool which would allow better coordination and networking of transportation systems. The concept of “Uberization” can be considered which would include information on where products have to be picked up from and delivered to and available transport options.
Smallholder farmers and SMEs need to have the capacity to make greater use of ICTs. Enhancing awareness and training opportunities for expanding ICT usage in the agricultural sector and related industries e.g. in agri-finance, marketing or production is immense.
Pacific AgriHack Lab
The AgriHack lab aims to address the limited support for upscaling the use of novel and existing ICT platforms/applications or developing prototypes that would specifically attract the most farmers (especially smallholders and fisher folk) and small and medium enterprises involved in local food crops and fisheries value chains (from farm to table).
This call for proposals targets in-country ICT experts, Tech savvy young professionals and/or agri-entrepreneurs including farmers to identify and evaluate ICT applications that are in use, select one and propose solutions that have the greatest potential for wider adoption to connect the agriculture and food sector (from farm to table) in any or all of the target countries. Alternatively, the applicant can develop a prototype, which has the same potential.
The AgriHack Lab initiative includes:
- Competition to identify and further develop existing or new ICT applications for agriculture and agri-business/value chain development in the Pacific.
- Capacity building, mentorship and incubation opportunities.
- Enabling and encouraging networking opportunities among ICT experts and the public and private sector including farming community.
- Facilitation of access to grants and investments opportunities.
You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:
A. You are working for/with ICT start-ups/public and private sector organisations/businesses promoting and using ICTs or you are an independent ICT expert or own your own business.
B. You are a national of/or are registered to operate in one of the 7 project target countries: Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
Who can apply?
ICT experts, tech savvy young professionals, farmers and/or agri-entrepreneurs operating in Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, or Vanuatu.
20 semi-finalists will be selected by a multi-disciplinary team from among the applications received. The Top 20 semi-finalists will be invited and supported to attend and pitch their ICT solutions to a multi-stakeholder group during the AgriHack Lab planned for Tonga in December 2018. During this event, a second evaluation will be done by a multi-disciplinary expert panel to select the top 3 winners who will receive an award (Euro 5000) to implement their ICT solutions. Selection criteria (for all the categories of prizes) include: relevance to Pacific agricultural, agribusiness and value chain development and responsiveness to needs of farmers/ SMEs challenges, feasibility of proposed ICT solution (technical soundness), originality, scalability (the business model, level of deployment, ease of use/uptake, performance) and sustainability.
- Relevance - 20%
Technical Soundness - 30%
and Sustainability - 30%
- Originality - 10%
How to applyThe completed application form and necessary supporting documents must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, with a copy to email@example.com. Deadline for submitting applications is 31 October 2018. Any questions? Send queries to firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy to Bibhya Sharma, email@example.com, or Sheikh Azid, firstname.lastname@example.org.