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The Rainforest Alliance Announces Winners of the International Ag-Tech Developer Challenge

The Rainforest Alliance’s Ag-Tech Developer Challenge received entries from 50 organizations globally. CropIn, India's leading agri-tech company, won first place, and 20tree.ai, an artificial intelligence (AI) company based in the Netherlands, earned second place.

Agronmist and farmer going over the farmer's Farm Development Plan

The Rainforest Alliance announced on July 2, 2019 the two winners of the first-ever international Ag-Tech Developer Challenge. 50 organizations took part in the challenge submitting innovative remote-sensing data products to bolster digital work and generate data insights that will benefit the cocoa farmers the Rainforest Alliance works with on a global scale.

The Indian company CropIn earned first place and will receive an investment of €100,000 to further develop its future-ready farming solution CocoaSense. This AI and satellite imaging powered solution will make the current digital Farm Development Plans (FDPs) for cocoa farmers more precise. The Dutch team of 20tree.ai won the second prize and an investment of €75,000. This AI company impressed the jury with their thorough understanding of FDPs and their innovative solutions. The innovations of both winners will be further developed and piloted with cocoa farmers in Ghana in the coming months.

Daan de Vries, chief innovation and technology officer at the Rainforest Alliance said: “We are excited to start working together with CropIn and 20tree.ai. Their solutions will be very valuable to strengthen our value proposition for small farmers. At the Rainforest Alliance, we drive sustainability transformation across millions of hectares globally, with a special focus on commodity sectors with large environmental, economic, and social challenges. We increasingly do this by leveraging digital technology. Strong partnerships are fundamental to digital innovation. By working together with the right partners, we can support stakeholders along the entire supply chain on a journey of continuous data-driven improvement.”

Krishna Kumar, founder and CEO of CropIn, said: “We are excited to partner with the Rainforest Alliance under the SAT4Farming program. We will provide the technological know-how to co-develop a digital platform that aims to enhance the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana. This allows them to manage and monitor in a more accurate, affordable, and scalable manner. This is a strategic partnership and allows us to enhance CropIn's visibility in the African region.”

Anniek Schouten and Indra den Bakker, the founders of the Dutch 20tree.ai, reacted to the announcement: “We are very excited and honored to be awarded as one of the winners of the Ag-Tech Developer Challenge by the Rainforest Alliance. Our drive for taking up the challenge was the opportunity to contribute to improving the sustainability of cocoa production and having a positive impact on the livelihoods of local communities together with partners such as the Rainforest Alliance.”

The Ag-Tech Developer Challenge is part of SAT4Farming, a consortium of the Rainforest Alliance, Grameen Foundation, Touton, Satelligence, Waterwatch Projects, and the University of Ghana. With this program they support cocoa farmers, aiming to increase their profitability and sustainability. Through remote sensing and AI technologies, data insights can be gathered much more quickly, cheaply, and precisely—for a larger number of farmers. The overarching objective is to triple the average yields of Ghanaian cocoa farmers to 1500kg per year through innovations in farming.

All entries of the Ag-Tech Developer Challenge were assessed by a professional jury consisting of Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google; Kim Frankovich, vice president of cocoa sustainability of Mars Inc.; Farouk Nyame, technical manager of the cartography unit at the Ghana Cocoa Board; and Daan de Vries, chief innovation and technology cfficer at the Rainforest Alliance.

ABOUT THE RAINFOREST ALLIANCE

The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working in more than 60 countries at the intersection of business, agriculture and forests. The organization aims to create a better future for people and nature by making responsible business the new normal. By bringing farmers, forest communities, companies and consumers together it addresses some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges of today. The organization changes the way the world produces, sources and consumes, with a focus on cocoa, coffee, tea, bananas, forest products and palm oil through its certification program, tailored supply chain services, landscape and community work and advocacy. In 2018, seven million hectares of land are under Rainforest Alliance or UTZ agricultural certification and more than 2 million​ certified farmers are certified with one of these two standards, which are designed to improve economic, environmental and social sustainability.

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