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Digital solutions to farm issues discussed at 'hackathon'

Press Trust of India  |  Hyderabad 

A unique 'hackathon' to explore digital solutions to agriculture issues in the country was organised here with support from software giant Microsoft and other organisations.

The two-day event, which concluded today, was held at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

'Hackathon' (an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software and hardware development, including graphic designers, collaborate on software projects) was also supported by aWhere, a US-based agricultural information firm, and T-Hub (a start-up incubation centre set up with the participation of Government and some academic institutions).

Over 100 participants (11 teams) took part in the programme, Hack4Farming. A team, DARe (Digital Agri Rural e-Marketing), won the prize of USD 2000 for an innovative model. They also won the opportunity to get business and sector specific mentorship services with T-Hub to develop their idea into a viable business or product, a release issued by the organisers said today.

Their model was chosen by a team of judges for the cloud-based application that will help connect a large number of smallholder farmers with multiple buyers, it said.

The model will help in real-time price discovery using current e-mandi price, recent price trends, variety and other quality parameters. The application will also provide farmers location-specific weather forecasts and information on technology providers in their locality.

"Hack4Farming aims to unlock benefit of intelligent cloud solutions to positively impact the agriculture sector. It had mentors from Microsoft to guide participants in their quest to build solutions using intelligent cloud technology.

"The hackathon has highlighted that technology, when harnessed correctly, has the potential to transform lives and have a major socio-economic impact," said Anil Bhansali, MD, Microsoft India R & D Pvt Ltd.

Noting that digital technology can accelerate the pace of developing and delivering sustainable solutions to small- holder farmers, ICRISAT Director General David Bergvinson said the Hack4Farming' was part of the institute's digital agriculture initiative.

"Digital technology such as cloud computing and mobile phones provide an important platform for youth to see farming as a viable business. These tools will help us manage natural resources and support a modern food system that delivers safe and nutritious food to all consumers," he said.

First Published: Fri, May 13 2016. 22:28 IST