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Contxto – A Latin American startup was among the four global winners at MIT’s Inclusive Innovation Challenge on November 23. Their innovation may come as a bit of a relief since it proved that tech, rather than replacing humans, can bring opportunities for people everywhere.
The Peruvian agrotech, Agros, received US$250,000 for this good news.
The international competition saw over 1,500 applications. They were each categorized by region and into one of four groups: income and job creation, financial inclusion, skills development and opportunity matching, and technology access.
Agros was crowned in this last category. Their triumph was due specifically thanks to its machine-learning and AI technology, helping farmers make informed decisions to increase their yields.
From phone to farm to finance
Essentially, Agros’ solution gathers information through satellite images, weather data, and georeferenced information. Then, Agros remotely advises small farmers on how they can improve production based on the gathered data. Moreover, through Agros, farmers’ cellphones are enabled to notify them of pests or adverse weather conditions, so they can prepare accordingly.
And all this is just on the farm front.
Agros also shares what information it obtains with financial institutions. This is done with the purpose of helping farmers get loans with lower interest rates. Finance is particularly essential in an industry with such extended production cycles.
Make it rain!
Interestingly enough, this startup is also in the race to win the Everis Foundation’s global competition, taking place next Thursday in Madrid. However, they aren’t the only Latin American startup contending. Of the ten finalists, six (including Agros) are from Latin America.
The winning project will receive €60,000 (around US$66,000), along with consulting services to contribute to its development.
Latin America’s odds look pretty good with so many regional contenders on the roster.