IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) are delighted to announce that Agritask Ltd., an Israel-based agricultural-tech start-up, has won the Better Cotton Innovation Challenge.
CropIn Technology Solutions, an India-based agricultural-tech company, was awarded second place. The winning teams will now receive cash prizes of €100,000 and €35,000 respectively.
The Better Cotton Innovation Challenge, initiated by BCI and IDH and organized by Dalberg Advisors, launched in November 2019 to find new and innovative ideas to scale more sustainable cotton production. The challenge focused on two areas:
- Customized training: Innovations to bring customized training on more sustainable farming practices to hundreds of thousands of cotton farmers.
- Data collection: Innovations to reduce the time and cost of data collection to enable more efficient BCI licensing processes.
The challenge received close to 100 applications, 20 of which were shortlisted after a rigorous review process. Of the shortlisted applicants, five finalists – Agritask, CropIn, Ricult, WaterSprint and eKutir – were selected to trial their sustainable solutions in the field with BCI Farmers. Following the eight-week pilot period, a jury composed of BCI, IDH and Dalberg representatives, assessed the finalists and selected the winners based on six-point criteria: impact, technical performance, likelihood of adoption, scalability, financial sustainability and team capability.
Agritask offers a holistic agronomic platform that enables agricultural stakeholders, including farmers, to capture and make use of a range of data in a highly flexible manner. The Agritask mobile app is customizable, allowing farmers to adopt digital solutions intuitively in a way that works for them. In addition, the platform enables remote monitoring via satellite and virtual weather stations and supports interaction with third-party systems. Data that is captured through the app is then aggregated and processed to provide actionable insights, tailored to each user.
Arsira Thumaprudti, Head of Business Development at Agritask commented, “We are proud to work with global leaders in sustainability such as BCI. We are coming out of the field trials with a deeper appreciation of the complexity involved in implementing and monitoring sustainability programmes in the field, and this is exactly the type of challenge we were looking for.”
Images: ©Agritask. Cotton farming in Israel, 2020
CropIn’s solution is a digital farm management solution that enables complete digitization of farming processes. The platform empowers data-driven decision-making and provides complete visibility of people, processes and performance on a near real-time basis. It enables farmers to efficiently manage farming practices, while also ensuring they are adhering to compliance and certification requirements. The solution will assist farmers to address issues such as pest and crop-health and manage budgets and inputs, helping farmers to maximize their returns.
“The need for technological interventions to support sustainable farming is more pressing than ever. CropIn’s digital platforms are built to maximize value per acre for farmers, in an efficient, predictable and sustainable manner. Our solutions enable cotton farmers to manage and monitor crop farming in an accurate, affordable and scalable manner”, said Pallavi Kanak, Cropin Director India SEA.
Both winning solutions were selected from the data collection challenge category.
“The Innovation Challenge was set up to help identify solutions and partnerships that would accelerate the benefits for cotton farmers in their adoption of BCI principles and practices towards more sustainable cotton farming. The winning innovations have demonstrated in the field trials how the adoption of new engagement models and technology can support and strengthen impact at the field level,” said Pramit Chanda, Global Director Textiles and Manufacturing at IDH.
Cristina Martin Cuadrado, Programme Manager at BCI, praised the finalists, “Congratulations to Agritask and CropIn, who persevered, along with the other three challenge finalists, and piloted their solutions despite the challenges and setbacks caused by Covid-19 this year. Now the challenge is over, we are excited to be exploring the next steps and a potential rollout plan. We look forward to sharing further updates soon.”
Additional information about the Better Cotton Innovation Challenge can be found at bettercottonchallenge.org.