Revolution is taking place across the globe and technologies is being applied to everyday activities across sectors. Information Communication Technologies (ICT) is a must for every sector and its importance in agriculture over the years cannot be over emphasis. Experts’ opinion reveal ICT in agriculture to require the development and applications of innovative ways to use ICTs to solve challenges faced by farmers on the farm.
Nigeria agriculture is a sector mostly run by smallholder farmers who are fully operating on a subsistence scale of farming. This operations is faced with a lot of challenges such as low productivity because of non-accessibility to inputs, lack of finance and information, inadequate knowledge sharing, problem of marketing their produce and host of others.
It is no doubt that the agricultural sector has not been able to fulfil its major role of feeding its vast population, meeting the raw material needs of industries, providing substantial surplus for export due to lack of innovative ideas and technologies.
On the other hand, Agriculture is termed as a dirty, non-lucrative and tedious sector, which has discouraged young people from venting into agriculture.
To address such issues, young people from different sectors such as ICT, Agriculture, Development, Education rallied together to solve issues undermining the sector.
The platform called Farm Hackathon
It’s a beautiful sunny days at the university of Ibadan on the 21st – 22nd April, 2017 where KoboFARM with the support from corporate partners organized an agricultural Hackathon programme that brought together students, different players within and outside the sector with the aim of brainstorming on ICT as a key panacea tool for agriculture problems and to develop solutions to persistent problems of agriculture such as issues of logistics, mechanization, data analysis, and marketing among others.
FarmHack Ng has the vision of nurturing early agripreneurship and human development in getting them to solve complex economic and Agricultural issues affecting farming enterprises through the application of practical ICT solutions to agricultural demands.
The intention of the Hackers at the event was to tackle issues around three main areas:
- Solving logistics problem in domestic farming and farm sales
- The internet of business and impact on agriculture in Nigeria
- The need to help farmers (either in farm settlements or private) scale up their enterprise using data and analytics.
YPARD’s role at the hackathon event
YPARD Nigeria was a proud partner of the event and 3 YPARD representatives attended the event to provide mentorship to hackers, sensitize participants about YPARD and the increasing opportunity in the sector and to also provide guidance on developing proper solutions during and after the event.
It was an interesting event which brought students and stakeholders from all level of study (undergraduates, Masters and PHD levels) as well as mentors.
Atinuke Lebile, YPARD Nigeria Program and Membership Mobilization Officer, Tokurah Majid, Local representative for Lagos state, and AkinFish (An experienced fish farmer and consultant) - Local Representative for Oyo State, were on ground to present the opportunities within the YPARD Network for participants and to also allow them to channel right solutions to agriculture issues.
Atinuke Lebile made a presentation on behalf of YPARD Nigeria on the opportunities within the Network and YPARD promotional materials were given out to participants to drive home the point from the presentation. Majid made a presentation on how Internet of things is changing the Agricultural and Agribusiness sector.
It was an intense two days’ event with various sessions such as mentoring sessions, solutions and ideas development sessions, presentation to plenary. Some of the Innovations birthed at the Hackathon includes: Farmsense, Diamond, Impeccablehackers, Wittyinnovators, Deegeez, Datadeveloper and Crop2cash.
The Idea concept for Farm Sense is for the Infusion of cheap Internet of Things techniques to automate labour and cost intensive works in agriculture.
The idea concept for Diamond is for Flexible e-commerce website, online virtual Market Place that directly connects farmers and store owner to buyers. The goal is to bring ease and comfort to farmers, retailers and consumers.
The idea concept for Crop2Cash is to create simple and easy to use service for any farmer to connect to multiple markets using an artificially intelligent Facebook Messenger bot. A Facebook messenger bot that lets farmers connect to multiple agricultural e-commerce platform easily without having to worry about internet or user friendliness of a generic e-commerce website.
Other submissions idea concept includes;
Witty Innovators, Idea concept - improving Food Security in Nigeria; creating an e-platform for effective connection of different levels of value chains in agriculture;
Dee Geez, Idea Concept - To bridge the gap between farmers and agro-based industries by creating a readily available market for farmers' produce and subsequently reducing wastage drastically.
Data Developers, Idea Concept - To facilitate optimal record keeping and management of daily farm processes by providing a mobile application that is efficient, effective and easy to use.
Impeccable Hackers, Idea Concept – e-commerce
After the presentation of ideas and innovations at the plenary, a final selection was made by the experts on the panel table. The panel announced the winners of the hackathon and Farm sense, Diamond and Crop2cash emerged as 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.
After the announcement, cash awards were presented to the winner. Farm sense was given a cash prize of #30,000 from CEO of Sanwo.me, an office space at Lagos from Mr Sheriff Shittu of switch.ng and advertisement space worth #200,000 from Mr Tunji Alao of Vacant board.
The second edition of the hackathon programme is expected to come up at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso.
Many ICT interventions have been developed and tested around the world, with varied degrees of success, to help agriculturists improve their livelihoods through increased agricultural productivity, sales of produce and incomes, and reduction in risks.
However, the major classification that serves as a challenge is evident between the absence or low level of relationship between tech entrepreneurs and the farmers. It is therefore important for youths in information and communications technology to get involve in varies of agricultural endeavours to gain experience in real time and proffer practical solutions to farming practices.
At YPARD Nigeria and Global, It is indeed our greatest expectations and anticipations to see the launching of these amazing innovations presented at the FarmHack at the University of Ibadan.
Photo credit: Majid Tokurah (@jidkod)