“Good ideas can and will change the world, and we are pleased to see how many people … submitted their ideas to help farmers, alleviate poverty and transform our food systems in ways that will ensure food security for generations.”
These are the words of Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, chief executive and co-founder of the Motsepe Foundation following the announcement of the 2022 winners of the Milken-Motsepe Prize in Agritech. The competition is presented in partnership with the Milken Institute.
A total of 25 teams won $10 000 each for “innovative solutions to increase economic value to farmers in Africa.” According to a media statement issued, more than 3 300 people across 105 countries entered the competition launched in April 2021.
The judges will award a $1 million grand prize in April 2023, with extra prize money going to second and third place winners. There will also be a prize for the most creative application of fourth industrial revolution technologies, and a People’s Choice prize.
“We are excited to see the ideas of the finalists take shape and get tested in the field. More than tech-driven innovation, we need new approaches to agri-business that protect, preserve and enhance the contributions of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Moloi-Motsepe.
Series of field tests to follow
A panel of expert judges decided on the winners. In addition to the funding, the winning teams will also have a year to show how effective their ideas are through a series of field tests. The following will be tested:
- how their idea reduces costs for farmers;
- how their ideas increase harvest productivity and decrease post-harvest loss;
- whether they are able to implement their for small and medium-sized businesses in Africa; and
- how they develop and innovate new technologies.
“More than simply a competition, we are providing opportunities for these entrepreneurs to connect, experiment, grow, and get their ideas seen. Having a robust field test period allows for data generation and adaptation in a real-world environment so the innovations can be ready for scale and further investment,” said Dr Emily Musil Church, senior director at the Milken Institute’s Centre for Strategic Philanthropy.
The Milken Institute has teamed up with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to assist finalist teams in performing field experiments and analysing data. The Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech benefits greatly from WFP’s comprehensive grasp of global food system dynamics and regional AgriTech developments across Africa.