An idea for an online and app-based platform connecting farmers to agents and seed companies, MbeguBora, has emerged winner of the recent Hack4Farming event, taking home the US$2,000 grand prize.
Disrupt Africa reported in May agriculture stakeholders, programmers, developers and data scientists were invited to apply to participate in the three-day hackathon, aimed at developing solutions for agriculture in East Africa.
Over 70 participants congregated for the event this weekend (July 29-31), which was held at the Nailab in Nairobi, Kenya.
Each Hack4Farming event has a unique focus, and this weekend’s hackathon aimed to inspire tech innovation for seed companies. The event kicked off with presentations by East African seed companies, and a Q&A panel with seed company representatives, many of whom served as mentors at the hackathon over the next two days.
At the end of the three days, a team of five judges chose the winners based on the strength of the concept solution, the sustainability of its implementation and viability of the business model.
Team MbeguBora was announced winner of the US$2,000 grand prize, for their idea to build web-based and mobile apps connecting farmers to agents and seed companies, as well as minimising agricultural information gaps through seed variety recommendations and plot monitoring reports.
A special prize of US$1,000 was also granted to Team AgData, for being the best example of big data integration, with their idea for a crop monitoring system using blockchain technology along with agronomic and weather data to inform farmers and seed companies how they can improve seed-related decisions.
“I have been impressed by the concepts the teams developed in such a short time. While the contest focused on helping seed providers, the teams realized the importance and the need to focus on smallholder farmers as well. This idea is close to my heart, as smallholder farmers are the core of agricultural success,” said John Freeman, co-founder of Agriledger, and mentor at the event.
“Hackathons are a very good setting for brainstorming and testing ideas and concepts quickly, especially if they are organized around addressing challenges within a specific context. There is great potential for solving problems in the agricultural sector with the use of technology and creativity,” said hackathon judge John Karanja, founder of BitHub Africa.
Hack4Farming organisers aWhere has partnered with Nairobi-based incubator iHub to host a post-hackathon startup bootcamp in August, in a bid to encourage participants to continue to develop their business ideas.