Microsoft has selected The Awareness Company as the winner of its AgriChallenge competition. The Awareness Company will receive investments from Microsoft to configure, develop, educate, market and contextualise three high-impact agritech products within the next year to empower smallholder farmers in South Africa.
In August 2020, Microsoft announced a 2.3 million dollar investment aimed at driving sustainability in South Africa’s agricultural sector. Through the Microsoft AgriTech Programme and under the Equity Equivalent Investment Program initiative in South Africa. It invited technology companies in the agriculture sector to apply and pitch solutions to concerns that affect black smallholder farmers. With the successful AgriChallenge applicant going on to receive investments to help bring their solutions to life.
We want to help unlock the potential of one of South Africa’s core industries and its smallholder farmers by tapping into the capabilities of agritech. By investing in local businesses and technologies that are truly disruptive says Lillian Barnard, CEO of Microsoft South Africa.
“Technology – specifically agritech – has the ability to empower our country’s smallholder farmers. By enabling them to become more productive, efficient, competitive, commercially viable and sustainable.”Lillian Barnard, CEO of Microsoft South Africa.
Microsoft notes the solutions will enable smallholder farmers to improve efficiencies in their farming operations through the use of operational insights. Allowing them to reduce the cost of production, increase yields, strengthen linkages through the value chain and improve farm security.
Priaash Ramadeen, CEO of The Awareness Company says Microsoft’s support and investment is a jump-start. Noting smallholder farmers play a critical role in driving food security.
“The country’s two to four million smallholder farmers play a critical role in driving food security and economic participation. But they face specific and deep-rooted challenges, and the sector is typically underserved in terms of high-tech solutions.
That’s why Microsoft’s support and investment in helping us as a local, homegrown business to grow and develop solutions that focus on solving real-world problems is so meaningful. The programme is a jump-start that has enabled us to create and update products that synchronise with the work we have already done in the agricultural space to promote sustainable agriculture and food security through intelligent data.”Priaash Ramadeen, Co-Founder and CEO of The Awareness Company.
The solutions developed by The Awareness Company includes HYDRA FarmSecurity, HYDRA FarmAwareness and HYDRA AgriInsights. All of these solutions are driven by data, and the insights and intelligence tell a story about the farm. Click to find out more about the solutions.
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