Rainforest Alliance names winners of global scheme to assist cocoa farmers

The Rainforest Alliance has confirmed winners of the first-ever international Ag-Tech Developer Challenge, involving remote-sensing data products to gain insights to benefit cocoa farmers it works with globally.

First-place went to Indian company CropIn, which receives 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 for cocoa farmers more precise. The Dutch team of 20tree.ai won the second prize and an investment of €75,000. This artificial intelligence company impressed the jury with their thorough understanding of the Farm Development Plan and their innovative solutions. The innovations of both winners will be further developed and piloted with cocoa farmers in Ghana in the coming period. There were a total of 50 organisations involved in the initiative.

Daan de Vries, chief innovation and technology officer at 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 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 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 at increasing their profitability and sustainability. Through remote sensing and Artificial Intelligence 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.

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