The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative 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 with 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 organised 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:
- Customised training: Innovations to bring customised 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 a 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 customisable, 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.”
CropIn’s solution is a digital farm management solution that enables complete digitisation 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 maximise 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 adoption of new engagement models and technology can support and strengthen impact at 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 set-backs caused by Covid-19 this year. Now the challenge is over, we are excited to be exploring next steps and a potential roll out plan. We look forward to sharing further updates soon.”
Additional information about the Better Cotton Innovation Challenge can be found at: bettercottonchallenge.org.
About the organisations
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a global not-for-profit organisation and the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. It aims to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity. BCI partners with on-the-ground Implementing Partners to provide training on more sustainable farming practices to more than 2.3 cotton farmers in 23 countries. Better Cotton accounts for 22% of global cotton production.
IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, convenes companies, civil society organizations, governments, and others in public-private partnerships in order to drive the joint design, co-funding and prototyping of new economically viable approaches. IDH is supported by multiple European governments, including the institutional donors: BUZA, SECO, and DANIDA.
Dalberg Advisors is a global advisory firm that provides high-level strategic, policy and investment advice to the leadership of key institutions, corporations, and governments, working collaboratively to address pressing global problems and generate positive social impact. Dalberg has a global presence, covering 25 countries across continents.