Launch of Ag Innovation Challenges by the World Bank Ag Observatory

The World Bank Ag Observatory supported by Draper University has opened the application period for the three challenges to support agriculture and food security risk financing in Southern Africa. The organizers invite international innovators & startups to apply before 2nd April, 2020. 

Washington DC, March 4 – The Sustainable Development Department of the Africa Region at the World Bank Ag Observatory with the support of Draper University is launching three Challenges addressed to develop innovative agriculture risk financing tools to help inform and support public sector policy in Southern Africa and program decision making regarding allocation of public resources to reduce economic losses, poverty, and food insecurity.

The increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather events and growing threats from plant and livestock pests & diseases threaten to undermine efforts in Southern Africa to reduce economic losses, poverty, and food security. WBG is strategically placed to lead an integrated agenda for managing agriculture risks and to promote climate change adaptation and resilience in the agriculture sector.  

To incentivize the development of necessary risk financing tools, we are launching three innovation challenges aimed at demonstrating alternative ways of collecting or monitoring critical datasets and indices that can be used to ultimately assess the various dimensions of impact-induced by agricultural stressors in a granular, scalable and dynamic way.

Three Innovation Challenges are open to proposals around the following thematic areas under a specific set of technical specifications:

Challenge 1: Alternative Methods for Measuring Rainfall

Rainfall data is essential for the development of risk finance mechanisms and other key tools to strengthen the financial resilience of farmers to climatic shocks. This includes measurements of excess rainfall and rainfall deficit.

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Challenge 2: Predicting or Monitoring Animal Disease Outbreaks

Pathogens are expanding in new areas never affected before, exacting significant economic cost on the livestock sector. Prevention and early warning for rapid response are essential.

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Challenge 3: Bring your Own Yield Data

Objective, transparent, accessible, and accurate data is essential to develop high quality, affordable risk financing instruments (such as insurance) or ag information systems. With expansion of novel data collection techniques, non-traditional methods of data collection can leap-frog traditional methods of yield collection and expand the scope and availability of risk financing instruments for farmers.

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The winners of each challenge will receive the following support and be able to:

  • Present their solutions to a panel of experts from top international institutions in a Shark Tank format;
  • Exhibit their proposal work in a report on agriculture innovations by the World Bank and partners;
  • Be featured in key media outlets as an innovator in the area;
  • Attend an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., (all expenses paid) and have the opportunity to interact with potential partners.
  • Receive additional prizes from the selected sponsors & partners.

Participants must submit their applications by April 2nd, 2020. All the potential applicants can learn more and submit an application for the Innovation Challenge here.

If you would like more information about this topic, email us at hrizzo@worldbank.org