AgUnity (Australia) which increases incomes for the smallest farmers in developing countries via the use of blockchain technology gains the title Agripreneur of the Year 2018 at the Future Agro Challenge Global Championships, which took place in over 60 countries across 5 continents.
AgUnity’s win came after the battle against Hargol, world’s first grasshopper farm delivering healthier and more sustainable protein, for 1st and 2nd place.
Over 1 billion small-scale farmers earn their income from Agriculture, yet up to 50% of a farmer’s crop value ‘vanishes’ between harvest and sale. Huge inefficiencies in planning, a lack of empowerment and a lack of access to proper farming resources result in poor harvests, spoilage of crops and poor prices at point of sale. Farming cooperatives are seen the most effective and equitable way to increase farmer’s incomes by overcoming these inefficiencies, however poor record keeping and a lack of transparency often results in farmers being taken advantage of through corruption and graft. AgUnity from Australia solves this by enabling trust between farmers and co-operatives by providing a smartphone and their blockchain app, AgriLedger, to farmers in the developing world, all for free. This app enables farmers to easily record all transactions in an immutable ledger between each other and their farming co-operatives, and to plan better, buy and sell together and cooperate to share resources. In their pilot projects in Kenya and Bougainville, farmer incomes increased by 3x on average from a single season to the next, all through sharing resources and buying/selling together. Farmers can understand with confidence, even if they cannot read or write, that if they hand over their crops to a co-operative, they will receive payment for these crops for exact amount they provided, and trust the AgriLedger app.
Coming in second, Hargol from Israel aims is to feed the expanding world population with more high protein food from sustainable sources at affordable prices. As current protein sources – beef, chicken, fish – are reaching their limits, putting pressure on natural resources, and damaging the environment. Edible insects are gaining momentum as a high protein alternative that is efficient to produce, low cost, and requires minimal resources. With insects already an integral part of the diet of more than 2.5 billion people, there is a need and an opportunity for quality insect products that can be mass produced efficiently and economically. Hargol FoodTech is the world’s first commercial grasshopper farmer. The company uses technology to grow large quantities of grasshoppers in captivity. Hargol Foodtech’s optimized methods and technology enable growing several species of grasshoppers quickly and under sanitary conditions for a reliable, sustainable, and quality protein source. Hargol’s line of products will include grasshopper protein powder, food additives and pet food. The Hargol FoodTech difference includes: year-round production, superior nutrient content – over 72% protein, all essential amino acids, high omega-3 and 6, and innovative cage for vertical farming.
In third place, Nebyan Dogal from Turkey, solving the problem for people living in big cities to find grass-fed, traditionally raised animals’ meat like they did in the past. Livestock production is shifting to “factory farms” adopting industrial production methods. Nebyan Dogal built a business model enabling farmers to continue traditional livestock production and provide people in cities with a sustainable source of healthy, high quality meat products. They bring forward grass-fed, free-range, traditionally raised animals’ meat from Black Sea highlands to capital cities with the highest quality standards, in the form of innovative products and with high availability addressing the exact urban consumer requirements.
Coming from Italy and providing modular and scalable vertical gardens to produce healthy food in any indoor environment is Hexagro Urban Farming‘s solution who placed fourth at the Future Agro Challenge Global Competition. Current practices to produce and distribute food globally represent one of the biggest sources of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions making indoor agriculture is a trending solution. Current indoor farming market products are not offering a solution to produce different crops while being scalable, high yield and flexible. Indoor farming ventures tend to have problems related to operational costs and supply. Empowering people to produce their own food will bypass much of this burden. Hexagro Urban Farming is the perfect fit for people purchasing healthy food and new urban farmers who want to generate a profit from their activity. They offer communities to be self-sufficient to grow their food needs while cultivating a local community of urban farmers.