Over the past one year, there has been a rising 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%. 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.

VyavaSahaayaa is a product of Aasalabs Technology Private Limited, which is a startup incubated at Deshpande Foundation’s Hubballi Sandbox. The Agri-Food Open Innovation platform 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 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. For more details about the technology challenge, please visit vyavasahaaya.com

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.

~ Business Wire India

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