The World Bank’s Ag Observatory & Draper University have successfully closed the application period for Agriculture Innovation Challenges organized to support agriculture and food security risk financing in Southern Africa. The next step is to select the top applicants to participate in a virtual Shark Tank of qualified experts. 

Washington, D.C., Apr 3 – Since the launch of the Agriculture Innovation Challenges at the beginning of March 2020, innovators have been submitting their solutions to the World Bank’s Ag Observatory and Draper University to address one or all of the following challenges: 

  • Challenge 1: Alternative Methods for Measuring Weather Variables;
  • Challenge 2: Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases;
  • Challenge 3: Agriculture Data.

These three challenges have called for solutions for alternative ways to collect or monitor datasets and indices that can be used to assess the various dimensions of impact from agricultural stressors in a granular, scalable and dynamic way. 

The application period was successfully closed on the 2nd of April at 23:59 (GMT-12). Having collected a substantial number of qualified applications, the main organizers together with a qualified number of judges from various partner organizations have started the selection, whereby the top applicants with the most innovative proposals will be selected to participate in a virtual Shark Tank to pitch their solution in front of a Grand Jury of highly qualified experts. 

The Grand Jury will be composed of experts from Governments from the Southern Africa Region and international specialists, including the representatives of organization such as The World Bank, Draper University, Weather Impact, WFP, Global Parametrics, Accenture, SHIFT, InnMind, AGNIi, IFAD, Pula, CIAT, SADC and others. Proposals submitted came from individuals, private companies, startups and entrepreneurs, NGOs, international organizations and Universities coming from all continents across the world. 

The organizers express their highest gratitude to all applicants who contributed to this initiative by sharing their solutions and therefore, supporting the improvement of agriculture and food security risk financing in Southern Africa. Considering the current situation and global challenges that the world is facing, it is crucial to crowdsource solutions addressing the problems of the most vulnerable regions. 

If you would like more information about the Agriculture Innovation Challenge, email Kristina Louise Zittel at

For more information, visit the Agriculture Innovation Challenge website.