Data Driven Farming Prize

Sought tools to source, analyse and translate data into information which farmers can use to improve agricultural productivity in Nepal.

What was the Data Driven Farming Prize?

In an initiative to combat global hunger and poverty, international teams of innovators created technological solutions to help farmers in Nepal use data and information more effectively to improve their productivity. 

  • The Data Driven Farming Prize ran from February to September 2017.
  • This was a global prize, but the solution had to be specifically viable in Nepal. 
  • There was £3000,000 available in prize money.
  • Four winners from Nepal, Canada and Germany. 
  • Organisations involved were Feed the Future, USAID and Nesta Challenges.


Why did we run the Data Driven Farming Prize?

Global concern regarding agricultural and food production is growing. Nepal has the potential to be a food surplus country if smart, sustainable intensification that includes smallholder farmers can be realised. This challenge aimed to bring about systemic change for smallholder farmers by supporting the development of digital solutions which translate agricultural data and information into actionable insights. The prize encouraged innovators to explore new approaches, or scale best practices – raising awareness of the potential of digital technologies for agricultural benefits. 

What did we learn?

  • Finalists found the prize useful and leveraged their experience, new networks, and partnerships to further accelerate the development of their respective solutions. 
  • The prize enabled an innovation process that acted as a catalyst to the collective action needed to transform farming systems by combining them with the enabling power of new technologies. 
  • The Data Driven Farming Prize has signalled to actors that the Nepali agricultural sector is a space for innovation – as a result, new projects are being launched to further build and strengthen the market.

11 of the 13 finalists...

are still motivated to work in the agricultural space in Nepal

All six Nepali finalists...

believe that there is more awareness of ICT4Ag/AgTech as a means to support the agricultural space in Nepal

Over 50% of entries...

came from teams or individuals who were based in Nepal, which is where the challenge focused on

Impact of the Prize

  • All solutions produced during the prize were innovative, as 13 new prototype solutions and complete business plans were created.
  • During the prize process, we directly tested innovations with a pool of 150 users, with the insights from the innovation testing reaching more than 2,000 smallholder farmers.
  • All of the 12 participating finalists continue to want to work in Nepal. By bringing their new and innovative solutions to the agricultural space, they have continued to focus on ensuring their end-users.
  • Finalists noted that testing phase was largely positive, as users found their solutions useful and insightful. They also noted they are continuously improving their solutions as they seek to create the ideal product for their end-users.
  • The prize precipitated 15 partnerships with various actors in Nepal’s agricultural value chain among 70% of the innovators. In addition, the prize supported finalists in building useful skills for professional growth (cross-data validation, user-testing, co-design, and impact evaluation) which better allowed them to ground the solutions in the Nepali context.
  • All of the finalists saw working in Nepal’s agricultural value chains an opportunity to be part of a transformation that could both revolutionize agriculture and also support farmers in numerous informational challenges they face in different agricultural value chains.
  • Since the prize ended, finalists established 22 new partnerships in Nepal’s agricultural space, ranging from cooperatives, the government, and the private sector.
  • Three finalists confirmed they had access to new funding due to the prize and the prize received $246,000 in-kind support from partners (equivalent to 17% of USAID total investment). At the end of the prize, the program ROI (return on investment) was calculated as the effective programmes cost was $1,240,000 equal to $155,000 per outcome the prize was aiming to achieve (8 outcomes as highlighted in the Theory of Change).


Viable Solution - Db2Map (Nepal)

Db2Map’s solution is GeoKRISHI, an integrated data-driven agriculture intelligence system for Nepal to improve crop productivity.

Significant potential - Gham Power (Nepal)

Gham Power Nepal designed Off-Grid Bazaar, a platform that helps small farmers improve their yield by selecting an optimal mix of crops and agro-processing systems.

Viable solution - Peat (Germany)

Peat is a mobile crop diagnostic application for farmers worldwide.

Significant potential - Spero Analytics (Canada)

Spero Analytics designed a wireless soil moisture mesh network that enables precision agriculture among smallholder farmers in Nepal.

The finalist teams

Dreamwork Solution’s solution aims to improve efficiency and productivity of the farmers using Information and Communication Technology.

eKutir Global’s solution, FarmChalo, is human digital platform and data intelligence connecting knowledge, markets and finance to smallholder farmers.

Farming Online created the Annapurna App, which uses machine learning to improve food crop production on Nepalese smallholdings

ICT For Agriculture is a mobile and web platform capable of providing localized core content for farmers in Nepal.

iDE designed IPMobile, a mobile integrated pest management solutions.

Intrepid GeoInformatics is a web portal for farmers living in the peri-urban Kathmandu Valley to manage vegetable production.

R&D Innovative Solution created Agri Nepal to address the challenges faced by farming communities in Nepal through digital innovation.

Tel Aviv University designed NITSAN, which enables mobile-phone based data exchange between Nepali smallholders and the experts that train them during an employment programme in Israeli farms. 

VOTO Mobile developed 321 Agriculture, a free, mobile agricultural information service developed by experts and distributed by telecom providers.

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