The AgriHack Talent initiative aimed to support ICT innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries. It targeted young entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35 years old. The project was a cornerstone of CTA’s focus on enabling youth involvement in agriculture and supporting employment opportunities.
The AgriHack Talent Project was piloted in 2013 in East Africa with a hackathon organised under the framework of the international ICT4Ag Conference before it was officially launched in 2014. It was implemented with the support of various partners, such as incubators, agriculture organisations, venture capital firms, and ICT institutions, which contributed to assessing the start-ups, as well as providing financial rewards or technical expertise.
Among the activities that AgriHack facilitated were:
- hackathons to develop new ICT applications or platforms;
- a start-up competition – Pitch AgriHack – for young companies with existing applications or platforms offering e-agriculture services at early-stage;
- capacity building, mentorship, and incubation sessions;
- promotion, publications, networking, and
- facilitation of access to grants and investments.
From 2016, AgriHack was mostly focused on supporting existing platforms via Pitch AgriHack and its follow-up activities.
Since its inception, winners involved in the AgriHack project have raised more than €2.5 million in investments and grants in addition to support from CTA. They have seen an average increase of 115 per cent in their staff levels, while some have quadrupled their staff. Meanwhile, more than one million users – mostly farmers and other agricultural stakeholders – have been reached by services provided by the start-ups involved. In 2018 and 2019, half of the finalists and winners in the Pitch AgriHack competition were women, which illustrates how the competition managed to engage young women agripreneurs.
At the end of 2020, AgriHack was handed over to the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) – which has hosted the Pitch AgriHack final and prize ceremony for three years. The Pitch AgriHack competition will continue to be a vital part of AGRF's efforts to inspire greater investment and support for agricultural entrepreneurship.