The following press release was distributed by Opportunity International:
To commemorate a century of innovation in tractors, Opportunity International partner John Deere is hosting the John Deere ICT4D Application Development Competition to improve access to tractors for African farmers. They’re inviting developers from Africa to build the digital solutions that will shape the next century.
Making use of agriculture and technology in creative and unconventional ways will help improve access to affordable mechanization services for smallholder farmers in Africa. This is important because the majority of the world’s poor share one profession: farming. Addressing the needs of smallholder farmers will have a long-term impact on poverty.
The World Bank estimates that agricultural development is “two to four times more effective in raising incomes among the very poor than growth in other sectors.” Not only is this a high-impact sector, it’s also a large one. Farmers account for more than 30 percent of the global working-age population, and most of them live in poor countries.
For example, Africa is home to a quarter of the world’s farmland, but generates only 10 percent of all crops produced globally. In Opportunity’s experience, most African farmers are operating at just 40 percent of their potential capacity. Crop production remains low because the majority of food producers are smallholder farmers who lack access to financial services, farming inputs such as improved seeds and fertilizers, agricultural training, fair crop markets, and mechanization, to transition from subsistence farming to economically and commercially active farming.
We expect the competition to help shape and develop solutions for African farmers. It’s an important challenge that will have an impact on Africa.
Since teamwork is a big part of what has made John Deere successful, they are looking for applications from teams of three (3) to five (5) people, with at least one female, to register and compete.
Winners will be featured at the ICT4D 2018 Conference, attended by technology leaders from around the world. An esteemed team of judges will select (3) three finalists and announce the winning teams at the ICT4D 2018 Conference to be held in Lusaka, Zambia. The winning teams will receive USD$2,000, USD$1,000, and USD$500 for first, second and third place respectively.
Applications are due here by April 19, 2018.