The National Incubation Center  along with Jazz xlr8Teamup, Ignite – Ministry of IT and Telecom, Inspire Mill, Radical Growth and other partners, organized and successfully conducted the largest agri-hackathon the ecosystem has witnessed to date.

This has been yet another event under the NIC’s flagship project Hacktivate; which aims to find innovative and disruptive solutions through collaborative hackathons. The two-day Hacktivate 3.0 event comprised of a hackathon, where applicants in ideation stage presented their ideas, and an Innovation Challenge in which product-ready startups competed amongst each other. This was one of the largest virtual events conducted at a national level to deal with the numerous challenges in the agri-tech space, and attracted great interest from various stakeholders due to the importance of the sector to the people and economy of the country.

“The agriculture sector of Pakistan has huge growth potential. Our vision behind Hacktivate 3.0 was to empower innovators, changemakers and entrepreneurs across Pakistan and enable them to showcase ideas and solutions that can help address various challenges in the agriculture sector, taking it to the next level.” said Zouhair Khaliq – Co-Founder Teamup

The event, organized with an aim to bring innovative ideas in the agriculture space to the forefront, attracted more than 300 applications from 53 cities across the country.

“Being the largest Telecom company, Jazz is actively working in the agri-tech space to come up with innovative solutions to the challenges faced by our farmers. This Hackathon has allowed us to scope for the most innovative solutions to challenges in agriculture and we wish to work with them to find various tech-enabled solutions for our farmers,” said Aamer Ejaz, Chief Digital & Strategy Officer, Jazz.

15 ideas were shortlisted for the Hackathon segment of the event. The event included virtual workshops and mentoring sessions, to help participants work on their solution. The teams went through a final pitching competition where they presented their ideas to industry veterans and domain specialists. The winners of the Hackathon are:

1st Prize – Kehti Barri: The team is developing a mobile app to bridge the gap between farmers and individuals/companies providing necessary equipment for efficient farming, such as tractors and harvesters on rent. The team has been awarded PKR 75,000 sponsored by Fatima Fertilizer Company Limited.

2nd Prize – Innovation Lab: The founder is developing an IoT-based system to monitor soil moisture and soil temperature for farms. The aim is to reduce water wastage, reduce human intervention and ultimately increase the crop yield. The team has been awarded PKR 50,000 sponsored by Walled City Co.

3rd Prize – Nano Enabled Agriculture: The startup is using nanomaterials to detect pesticide residue. They are being awarded a cash prize of PKR 25,000 sponsored by Radical Growth Solutions.

The second segment of the event, Innovation Challenge, comprised of a 3-hour pitching event, in which 8 shortlisted startups presented their ideas to the jury. Cash prizes for this segment were sponsored by Engro Foundation. The winners are:

1st Prize – CropDrop: The startup is disrupting the supply chain by sourcing quality produce directly from farmers and delivering it to urban retailers, businesses and service providers at an affordable price. The startup is being awarded PKR 150,000 cash prize.

2nd Prize – Peepu: Given the high number of middlemen and huge loss of harvest produce, team Peepu has come up with an app-based solution that connects farmers to consumers and in the process aims to empower the whole supply chain. The startup is being awarded PKR 100,000 cash prize.

3rd Prize – SmartAquaponics: The startup is addressing the problems of food insecurity and water shortage. They have combined the concepts of aquaculture and hydroponics to create a closed-loop food production process. The startup is being awarded PKR 75,000 cash prize.

In addition to the cash prizes, the winners will be awarded a spot in the Jazz xlr8 Program.  They will also be given the opportunity to connect with relevant stakeholders to practically implement their ideas including investors, public sector representatives & mentors, and to scale up with the support of donors and acceleration partners.

The National Incubation Center would like to thank its partners Inspire Mill, Walled City – Kausar Group, Akhuwat Foundation, NIC Karachi, WOWPK, Women in Tech, Radical Growth Solution, Sybrid, Connected Women, DEMO, Code for Pakistan, NIC Peshawar, IDG – International Data Group, WeCreate, PWIC, Tie Islamabad, PMAS – Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, P@SHA and other partners, along with the participating judges and mentors, who played a pivotal role in the success of the event, by providing great insights into the agriculture space to both the organizers and participants, to derive meaningful impact from the initiative.

The event will be followed by a detailed report on the dynamics of the sector, and the role of startups in introducing modern practices and techniques for the progressive growth of the sector and hence the economy of the country.

Image source: NIC

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