Innovation award presented for the second time by Switzerland and FAO

Switzerland and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) will present the International Innovation Award for Sustainable Food and Agriculture at the first edition of the World Food Forum, which is being held from 1 to 5 October. From the more than 400 nominations submitted, three projects have been awarded a prize of USD 20000 each.

Innovation plays an important role in the future of food and agriculture in the face of environmental challenges. It also helps to improve food security and nutrition for everyone. Given the importance of these issues, Switzerland and FAO launched the International Innovation Award for Sustainable Food and Agriculture in 2018 with the aim of rewarding and supporting entrepreneurs who successfully implement outstanding projects. The award not only recognises digital innovation, but also new and existing practices and products that are used to increase effectiveness, competitiveness and resilience.

Of the 432 nominations received from 83 countries, three in particular captured the attention of the Selection Committee, which is chaired by Ambassador Pio Wennubst from the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations organisations in Rome.

Two projects have received an award in the category for ‘Innovations that empower youth in agriculture and food systems’:

  • The first, a Belgian project called Access Agriculture AISBL, provides young people with solar-powered technology which allows farmer-to-farmer training videos to be shown in remote villages that have neither access to electricity nor internet, and only a weak mobile signal. The training videos are also available in numerous local languages.
  • The second is an American project called Bountifield International. It gives young people living in rural areas the opportunity to become post-harvest technology entrepreneurs, who can then provide farmers with a paid service to process, save and sell their crops.

In the category ‘Digitalisation and Innovation for Sustainable Food Systems’, one project received an award, while a second was given a special mention:

  • The project Ifarm360, whose founders are based in Kenya, is being recognised for leveraging technology that enables Kenyan smallholder farmers to sell their crops via a participatory finance platform. lfarm360 also provides small-scale farmers with advice and crop supervision, as well as agricultural input and equipment, such as solar irrigation kits.
  • The Enveritas project received a special mention for its use of digital technology and innovation. It uses geospatial analysis to assess how sustainable the coffee practices are of smallholders who are poorly connected and not organised into coffee cooperatives.

The awards will be presented at the first edition of the World Food Forum, a platform and movement spearheaded by young people from around the world. The forum is taking place virtually from October 1 to 5  (register at the following link: http://www.world-food-forum.org/registration/en/ ). For more detailed information about the projects, see the FAO website (http://www.fao.org/innovation/awards/en/ ).

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