Following a successful pilot experience, CTA has initiated the AgriHack Talent Programme to support youth ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture, and contribute to the transformation of the agricultural sector and youth employment through new technologies.
AgriHack Talent encompasses a series of activities at the heart of which a national or regional hackathon championship (or coding championship) is organised, followed by capacity building, entrepreneurship support in ICT and agriculture, promotion of the products developed and of best young Talents.
A hackathon is an event during which computer programmers (and development stakeholders when required) collaborate intensively to develop an ICT application or platform addressing a specific challenge. They are increasingly being organised to address specific developmental issues and CTA is contributing to boost its use in agriculture.
The AgriHack Talent Initiative has been now launched in the Caribbean. CTA aims to involve different stakeholders (including agricultural authorities, ICT institutions and business support organisations), build on existing initiatives, in order to ensure that the applications respond to actual agricultural issues and that roll-out is favoured. The stakeholder planning meeting of the initiative that was held on 22 to 23 July 2014 in Jamaica improved the concept of the activity.
Youth targetted are those aged between 18 and 35 years old.
1. Multi-stakeholder planning meeting: its aims are to discuss the agricultural challenges on which applications will be developed and other implementation issues, notably the collaboration with hubs and key regional organisations.
2. Call for expression of interest to engage ICT Hubs in the initiative
A Call for expression of interest will be launched and promoted to select tech hubs that will collaborate on the activity, as undertaken in 2013. CTA survey Monkey platform will be used for registration of hubs.
3. Baseline Study: Survey on agriculture open data for the Caribbean and on the development of the ICT applications on agriculture by youths in the Caribbean
The open data survey will notably help the identification of open data and help the development of adequate ICT applications.
4. Awareness raising on agricultural business opportunities for ICT developers
An online exchange activity will be organised to raise the awareness of young developers on the potentials and possibilities for developing on agriculture.
5. National hackathon or selection event and starting of coding
After the selection of participating hubs, they will organize, national coding selection events or hackathons to select national teams of developers (finalists) who will take part in the final of the AgriHack Talents Caribbean. One team per participating hub will be selected. Participants in the national activities will be aged between 18 and 35 years old. Following the selection of national finalists, the development of applications will start.
6. Regional finals of the AgriHack Talents
The regional finals will be held partly during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture from 06 to 12 October 2014 http://www.cwa.caricom.org/. The Finals are divided in two parts:
The first part of the Finals will be a workshop held over three days and will include the following activities:
The first part of the Finals will be held just before CWA 2014, at a venue that will be selected in Suriname and in collaboration with a local tech hub to be selected.
The second part of the Finals will be held during the CWA. It will include:
7. Post-hackathon incubation of regional winners
This will be held over 6 months. A contract will be signed with hubs having sponsored winners. The following services will be provided to young developers: capacity building, meeting with potential investors, promotion, and access to ICT connectivity.
8. Learning workshop following the incubation
A workshop will be organised following the incubation to learn from the event and promote best applications developed by youths.
9. Promotion of best applications
Through various channels, best applications and best young innovators will be promoted. This include documenting their stories, supporting them to attend ICT or agriculture events that could help them in their business venture. The promotion will not be limited to winners but to other best teams and applications as relevant.
10. Piloting best applications
Opportunities for piloting some best applications will be sought.
NB: Concept of the East African AgriHack Iniatiative: see here http://hackathon.ict4ag.org/concept-of-the-agrihack-east-african-experience/