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U.S. Data-Driven Farming Prize Awards $300,000 for Innovative Agricultural Solutions in Nepal

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Four international companies were awarded with the Global Data-Driven Farming Prize by the US government’s Feed the Future Initiative on Thursday, September 7th, 2017, for their innovative solutions in using information and communications technology to improve agricultural productivity. The solutions will be tested in Nepal, as the competition aims to give the opportunity to find innovations from around the world and link them to less developed economies, where these solutions have not yet arrived.

The four winners were two Nepali firms and a German and a Candian company. Db2Map and PEAT won the prize for the most viable solutions, receiving $100,000 each. Nepali's Db2Map won the award for its GEOKrishi program that integrates satellite data with government and crowdsourced information to assess land and soil conditions to help farmers maximise crop yields. German-based PEAT won the award for Plantix, a mobile crop diagnostic application for farmers worldwide, which we already covered on e-Agriculture.

Credits: Data Driven Farming Prize

Spero Analytics and ICT for Agriculture won the award for demonstrating significant potential. The Canadian-based Spero Analytics technology firm received $50,000 for its wireless soil moisture mesh network that enables precision agriculture among smallholder farmers. ICT for Agriculture, which is from Nepal, received a $50,000 award for its mobile and web-based platform that provides comprehensive agricultural information to rural farmers.

The Data-Driven Farming Prize attracted a total of 143 applicants from 21 countries, including 83 from Nepal. Of the 13 finalists, six were from Nepal. Amy Tohill-Stull, the Acting Mission Director at USAID, argued at the event “Data should no longer reside on computer servers at research institutes. We must make it open and accessible to Nepal’s farmers, agribusiness owners, and all stakeholders across the agriculture value chain. This is what we mean by “data-driven farming.”
 
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