University of the Philippines Los Baños
Monday, 02 October 2017 15:57

East-West Seed challenges students to innovate farming solutions

The Food and Agriculture Organization predicts the global population to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, a daunting number that demands food production to increase by 70%. With this challenge at hand, the task to innovate and help farmers increase their production has never been more crucial.

It is with this backdrop that the East-West Seed (EWS), on its 35th anniversary, hosted a four-day Innovation Olympics with the theme “New technologies to improve the productivity of our vegetable farmers,” on Sept. 26-29 at the REDREC Auditorium in UPLB. EWS is a producer and marketer of hybrid tropical vegetables.

“We are challenging the next generation of agriculture, business, and technology leaders to develop innovative solutions to real-life challenges of vegetable farmers. This is also our way of attracting young people to venture into agriculture,” said Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc, public affairs lead of EWS during the opening ceremony on Sept. 26.

The event featured agricultural practitioners and entrepreneurs who shared best practices to the participants. On the second and third day of the event, eight teams of students from UPLB and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) underwent a boot camp to review, develop, and enhance their proposed technologies.

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During the awarding ceremony, three teams, two of which are from UPLB, won P150,000 to adopt a farming community where they could implement their projects.

UPLB’s winning teams were i-Agri Ventures and Team Oppa. The former, composed of Jayson O. Fumera, Mark Twain A. Limbo, and Job Jonas C. Ruzgal, developed KAMATIS or “Kagamitang Makabago, Teknolohiyang at Impormasyong Sigurado,” a device that monitors soil moisture content to avoid excessive water in tomato production. The latter whose members were Arvin John B. Garcia and Sean Vince Ruel D. Maningas created a simple contraption that uses sensors and data to inform farmers on the condition of their vegetable farms through text messaging.

AIM’s Agriviz, composed of Aaron Franz L. David, Jose Gabrial V. Dimalanta, and Reaiah Joy R. Sarmiento, designed an agricultural e-commerce platform that aims to save on cost and maximize the yield and profit of farmers.

On January 2018, the EWS Innovation Olympics Grand Champion will be declared from among the three teams. The winning team will get P250,000 to roll out their project. The event was coordinated by the UPLB Center for Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship. (John Glen Sarol)