EzyAgric to get Shs279m as Fall Armyworm Tech Prize winners are unveiled

EzyAgric to get Shs279m as Fall Armyworm Tech Prize winners are unveiled

Zilla Mary Arach, chief technology officer at Akorion in South Africa. EzyAgric, an application developed by Akorion to help farmers access wide-ranging digital solutions was Wednesday announced among the projects that will share US$400,000 that was put up for Fall Army Tech Prize winners. (Image credit: Akorion)

EzyAgric, an application developed by Akorion to help farmers access wide-ranging digital solutions was Wednesday announced among the projects that will share US$400,000 that was put up for Fall Armyworm Tech Prize winners.

Organized by USAID, Feed the Future, OPIC among other powerful organizations, the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize sought “digital tools and approaches that provide timely, context-specific information that enables smallholder farmers and those who support them to identify, treat, and track the incidence of fall armyworm in Africa.”

The deadly pest, which first broke out in West Africa in 2016, attacks crops like maize, sorghum, rice, and sugarcane.

Experts say it can also fly up to 1,600 kilometers (nearly 1,000 miles) in 30 hours meaning it can easily migrate to surrounding farms and countries.

The Fall Armyworm Tech Prize Winners were announced at an event held in Cape Town, South Africa.

EzyAgric will be getting US$75000 (Shs279 million) for winning in the category of Most Promising Solutions. This category had two winners and the other is AfriFarm.

The other winners are FarmerLine, Henson Geodata, eHealth Africa (Frontier Innovation category). These will each get US$50,000.

Farmer.Ink, the overall winner, will get the grand prize of US$150,000.

To reach this level, judges examined whether these solutions would enable smallholder farmers and those who support them to accurately identify the incidence of fall armyworm in their crops.

Must read: Joan Lubega wins Shs47m for mosquito repellant soap

The judges also looked at whether the solutions can reduce productivity losses caused by fall armyworm among those using the tool or approach and ensure the appropriate and responsible use of pest management assessments, tools, and interventions.

In a social media statement announcing their achievement, Akorion wrote: “EzyAgric will now enable more farmers and agribusinesses to perform timely detection, diagnosis prevention and treatment of Fall Army Worm.”

It should be recalled that EzyAgric was in August of this year among the startups that qualified for the second class of the Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme, which is taking place in Lagos, Nigeria.

A new feature in the EzyAgric app, EzyArmyWorm (EAW), uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to allow farmers to easily detect the pest across possible affected crops at any stage of the production cycle.

With SMS and smart alert notifications, EAW provides farmers with constant reminders and real-time information on how to detect, manage, and address fall armyworm.

Initially, the Prize attracted 225 applicants but the judges sieved through to come up with 20 finalists from Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Taiwan, Israel, South Africa, Kenya, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Of the finalists, three startups: Technoplus IT Solutions, Akorion Company LTD and ENDELEA, were from Uganda.

The 2018 Fall Armyworm Tech Prize winners are 6.

Related:

Ugandan tycoon Thakkar unveils first African-made smartphone

Ugandan Startup Matibabu wins Shs124m innovation prize