1. Agriculture World

Inviting Digital Solutions for Combating Fall Armyworm in India

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Over the past one year, there has been a growing incidence of fall armyworm (FAW) in corn crops across Africa and South America. This deadly pest can cause drastic damage to corn crops and can reduce yields by up to 40 percent. Such damage can be highly devastating for smallholder farmers as it directly impacts their crop yields and farm incomes and stunts their livelihood. 

In India, the fall armyworm was first reported in July 2018 in Karnataka. Within a year, the pest has spread on an epidemic scale in more than ten corn-producing states of India. Farmers need timely, effective and innovative measures to control and eradicate FAW. 

VyavaSahaaya, a Mysuru-based Agri-food open innovation platform, has announced a technology challenge to combat FAW in corn, in collaboration with Bayer CropScience Limited, a leading player in Crop Protection. The challenge is open till June 16, 2019, to start-ups and students of engineering colleges. Teams of two to five members are invited to develop digital tools that can offer timely and context-specific information to enable farmers to track, spot and treat the FAW pest in their cornfields. 

The top two entries will win funding to cover the cost of development of their digital tool/solution. Bayer CropScience Limited will also partner with one of the winners to commercialize the digital solution across key corn-producing states of India.  

VyavaSahaayaa, product of Aasalabs Technology Private Limited (A startup incubated at Deshpande Foundation’s Hubballi Sandbox), is an Agri-Food Open Innovation platform, which enables problem owners such as foundations, corporates, research bodies to propose business, technology and social challenges that are complex or novel or have no established best practice approach and problem solvers to design actionable solutions. The ultimate objective is to fundamentally “Open” and Transform the Agri-Food Innovation Processes and at the same time create a positive impact on the planet, people and society. 

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and ageing global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2018, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of 39.6 billion Euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.6 billion Euros, R&D expenses to 5.2 billion Euros.

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