TechInPacific – The 2018 AgriHack Lab Competition has come to an end after announcing three winning startups from Fiji and Solomon Islands. Each team has been awarded €5,000 to grow their startups. The main purpose of the competition is to promote nutritious food systems that are aligned with Innov4AgPacific Project.
The winning teams are Hika Gonne and Watson Anikwai with their MalaAgri App from the Solomon Islands; Kenneth Katafono and Mohammed Moishin with their Traseable Farms, from Fiji; and Ateca Kama and Irene Mary with their MyKana App, also from Fiji. Besides receiving €5,000, each team was also given the additional technical support.
The AgriHack Lab took place in Tonga and co-funded by the Technical Centre for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and applied by CTA in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO). The event was also endorsed by the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga and organized by MORDI Tonga Trust in partnership with the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP).
The event aimed particularly at attracting smallholder farmers and fisher folks as well as SMEs involved in farming and fisheries value chains. The majority of applicants were from Fiji, while the others were from the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu. They were given a chance to deliver their ICT ideas and concepts in overcoming capacity development, communication, employment, nutrition, and transportation issues to improve agricultural sectors as well as value chains in the Pacific nations.
At the final competition, 15 semi-finalist teams were selected to pitch their ICT solutions to a panel of judges on December 5. They also partook in a workshop and training sessions on uncovering opportunities to finance, investment readiness, viable business models and marketing, soundness and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The training sessions helped them to strengthen their ICT ideas before pitching them to the panel of judges. After pitching their ideas, judges finally decided to award the three winning teams from the Solomon Islands and Fiji.
The Founder and Managing Director of Traseable Solutions, Keneth Katafono—one of the three winning teams—spoke about their app, Traseable Farms and what it aimed at, “I presented on Traseable Farms. It’s something that we were looking into given the success of our Fisheries app. Fisheries and agriculture are our biggest resources and face similar challenges. As Pacific Islanders, we should take ownership of this and try and find solutions for improving efficiency, ourselves.”
Meanwhile, the Innov4AgPacific Project Coordinator, Judith Francis, stated: “This compliments our Innov4AgPacific community nutrition seed funding projects, which are supporting community-based organizations to promote home gardening, nutrition education, diversified diets and increased income using a value chain approach.”