India: Cisco announces “agri challenge” to attract agtech startups

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IT giant Cisco has announced an “agri challenge” with a prize purse of Rs 2 crore in order to mobilise agtech startups to innovate solutions that have the potential to favorably impact at least 10 million small and marginal farmers.

The challenge is being co-hosted by K VijayRaghavan, PSA to the Government of India, while conceptualised and managed by NGO — The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation.

It will will run in stages over 12 months, supporting participants in developing solutions that help alleviate the issues of low-income and falling profitability.

“Such a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaboration will play a catalytic role in implementing scientific and technological interventions in agriculture, thereby improving farmers’ productivity and doubling farmers’ income,” said K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India.

It must be mentioned here that the Cisco Agri Challenge draws talent, technology as well as capital to the most pressing issues of small farmers, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Farmers are a critical part of India’s socio-economic fabric, but they continue to face the challenge of low profitability, exacerbated by the pandemic. Through the Cisco Agri Challenge platform, we aim to accelerate digital transformation in the agriculture sector,” said Harish Krishnan, MD, Public Affairs and Strategic Engagements, Cisco India and SAARC.