Dr. Bibhya Sharma, Acting Dean FST (seated, 4th from left) with facilitators and participants of the Pacific Agrihack Lab.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) organised the Pacific Agrihack Lab in Tonga from 3 – 5 December 2018.
Themed as ICTs from Farm to Table the Agrihack Lab promoted and inspired Pacific people to develop new and innovative digital solutions that will impact and improve agribusiness and value chain development.
This is in line with the main goal of the Innov4AgPacific project, which is to promote nutritious food systems in the Pacific Islands.
Other partners include International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), Mordi Trust Tonga and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP).
The three-day event saw fifteen (15) finalists from Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu work on their pitch, which provided novel ICT solutions for the agricultural sector.
There were a total of eight (8) teams from Fiji, two (2) teams from Solomon Islands, two (2) teams from Samoa and one team each from Tonga, Vanuatu and Kiribati.
USP contributed with five (5) teams which comprised of staff and students.
(From L-R): Mr Francis Thomsen (CEO of Digicel Tonga Limited) with the winning applicants.
The first day of workshops was held at the Tanoa International Hotel, Tonga and was chaired by Dr Bibhya Sharma, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE).
The workshops provided training sessions that focused on facilitation of access to finance, investment, improved business and technical opportunities including intellectual property rights considerations.
Dr Sharma encouraged participants to make their countries and the Pacific proud through their contributions and development of new and innovative technologies.
The second and third days, included training workshops and pitching of was conducted from the USP Tonga Campus.
After the two-day training, the participants presented their ideas to compete for the 5000 Euro Award for the top three (3) teams.
The ideas ranged from innovative mobile and web-based applications to automated farming systems. The pitches were judged by a panel of six (6) judges led by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Digicel Tonga Limited, Mr Francis Thomsen.
The three (3) best pitches that were awarded the 5000 EURO grant to further develop their innovative idea were MyKana – Backyard Gardening Component (Fiji), MalaAgri Mobile App (Solomon Islands) and Farmer Market Access and Transport Mobile App (Fiji).
The MyKana – Backyard Gardening Component was presented by Ms Irene Chief who is an Instructional Designer at USP together with Ms Ateca Cama from National Food and Nutrition.
The MalaAgri Mobile App was presented by two (2) alumni of USP Mr Hika Gonne and Mr Watson Anikwai while the Farmer Market Access and Transport Mobile App was presented by Kenneth Katafono who is the founder of Traceable Solutions and USP alumni Mohammed Moishin.
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