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The Rainforest Alliance announces Ag-Tech Developer Challenge winners

July 4, 2019 • Digital Transformation, West Africa

A field agent and a farmer are discussing the Farm Development Plan. Image sourced from Twitter: Rainforest Alliance.

A field agent and a farmer are discussing the Farm Development Plan. Image sourced from Twitter: Rainforest Alliance.

On 3 July 2019 the Rainforest Alliance announced the two winners of the inaugural international Ag-Tech Developer Challenge. Fifty organisations took part in the challenge with participants submitting innovative remote-sensing data products to improve digital work and generate data insights that will benefit the cocoa farmers that the Alliance works with across the globe.

First place went to an Indian company called CropIn. The company will receive an investment of $113,000 in order to further develop its farming solution CocoaSense. The AI and Satellite Imagine-powered solution will transform the current digital farm development plans for cocoa farmers into more precise and accurate solutions. Second place went to Dutch company 20tree.ai. The artificial intelligence company will receive $85,000. Their understanding of the Farm Development Plan and their innovative solutions impressed the jury. The solutions from both companies will be further developed and piloted with Ghanaian cocoa farmers in due time.

“We are excited to start working together with CropIn and 20tree.ai. Their solutions will be very valuable to strengthen our value proposition for small farmers. At Rainforest Alliance, we drive sustainability transformation across millions of hectares globally, with a special focus on commodity sectors with large environmental, economic and social challenges. We increasingly do this by leveraging digital technology. Strong partnerships are fundamental to digital innovation. By working together with the right partners, we can support stakeholders along the entire supply chain on a journey of continuous data-driven improvement,” said Daan de Vries, Chief Innovation & Technology Officer at Rainforest Alliance.

“We are excited to partner with Rainforest Alliance under the SAT4Farming program. We will provide the technological know-how to co-develop a digital platform that aims to enhance the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana. This allows them to manage and monitor in a more accurate, affordable and scalable manner. This is a strategic partnership and allows us to enhance CropIn’s visibility in the African region,” commented CropIn Founder and CEO Krishna Kumar.

“We are very excited and honoured to be awarded as one of the winners of the Ag-Tech Developer Challenge by the Rainforest Alliance. Our drive for taking up the challenge was the opportunity to contribute to improving the sustainability of cocoa production and having a positive impact on the livelihoods of local communities together with partners such as the Rainforest Alliance,” said Anniek Schouten and Indra den Bakker, Founders of 20tree.ai.

The Ag-Tech Developer Challenge is part of Rainforest Alliance, Touton, Satelligence, Waterwatch Projects, University of Ghana and Grameen Foundation consortium SAT4Farming. The program aims to support cocoa farmers and increase their sustainability and profitability. Data insights can be gathered and received in a faster manner through remote sensing and Artificial Intelligence technologies. An important objective of the consortium is to triple the average yields of Ghanaian cocoa farmers’ to 1500kg per year through farming innovations.

The Ag-Tech Developer Challenge entries were judged and assessed by a professional jury that consisted of Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist at Google; Kim Frankovich, Vice President of Cocoa Sustainability of Mars Inc.; Farouk Nyame, Technical Manager of the cartography unit at the Ghana Cocoa Board; and Daan de Vries, Chief Innovation and Technology Officer at the Rainforest Alliance.

Edited by Kojo Essah

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