UN Capital Fund launches Nepal Innovation ChallengeThe United Nations Capital Development Fund on Monday launched Nepal Innovation Challenge: AgriTECH, an initiative to promote the use of technology and innovation in the agricultural sector.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund on Monday launched Nepal Innovation Challenge: AgriTECH, an initiative to promote the use of technology and innovation in the agricultural sector.
According to the international organisation, the programme will support the country’s farm sector including production and market processes, among others with necessary funding and trainings. Speaking at a programme, David Molden, director general at International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, said the financial technology can be helpful in improving the farming system at a time when the sector is suffering from climate change.
The programme has targeted to help address the underlying challenges in both the demand and supply side in Nepali agriculture sector. As per the organisers, it will help mainly small farmers who are facing difficulties in sustaining and scaling-up their livelihoods due to lack of access to finance, high-quality agricultural inputs and relevant market information.
Likewise, the programme is aiming to alleviate challenges on the supply side such as absence of mechanism to disseminate information, effective ways to ensure production standards and digitalised system to track the transactions.
“In addition, it will also help build resilience, develop block chain technology and build efficiency in agriculture supply chain in the mountainous region, which is facing challenges due to climate change,” said Molden.
The initiative will be conducting its targeted programme in association with Nepali start-up companies. In addition, any individual who comes up with an innovative idea and is willing to improve the country’s agriculture sector will be eligible to participate in the programme.
Nepal is an agrarian country with the sector having notable shares in the country’s GDP. With the growing number of mobile users and an estimated 64 percent of them having access to smartphones, innovation technology is expected to allow farmers access to real time weather information and fluctuation in market value of their produce.
Valerie Julliand, UN resident coordinator stressed on the need for capitalising the efforts of the small farmers. “Equal participation of women, marginalised and deprived community people are also among the issues that needs to be addressed if country is to be upgraded by 2020,” Julliand said.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund is conducting the AgriTECH Challenge in collaboration with Next Venture Corp and Idea4Scale. According to the organisers, two winners of the challenge will receive grant investment of $30,000 each, access to business enablers for implementing the pilot, technical assistance from United Nations Capital Development Fund for a year to pilot the product/service and develop the scale-up plan. The winning teams will also have access to national and international investors along with the United Nation network.
The selected participants of challenge will be offered further support to develop and refine their ideas along with other opportunities in the field of agriculture and technology, said the organisers.