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Enhancing livelihoods of smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana

As Rainforest Alliance announces the winners of the international Ag-Tech Developer Challenge, the innovations of the winners will be further developed and piloted with cocoa farmers in Ghana in the coming days

Indian company CropIn won the first prize and received an investment of US$112712.80 to further develop its future-ready farming solution CocoaSense.

The Dutch team of won the second prize and an investment of US$84534.60 for the Farm Development Plan and innovative solutions.

The Ag-Tech Developer Challenge is part of SAT4Farming, a consortium of the Rainforest Alliance, Grameen Foundation, Touton, Satelligence, Waterwatch Projects and the University of Ghana. With this programme, they support cocoa farmers aiming at increasing their profitability and sustainability. Through remote sensing and AI technologies, data insights can be gathered much more quickly, cheaply and precisely— for a larger number of farmers. The overarching objective is to triple the average yields of Ghanaian cocoa farmers’ to 1500kg per year through innovations in farming.

Speaking about the partnership with Rainforest Alliance under the SAT4Farming programme, Krishna Kumar, founder and CEO of CropIn, commented, “We will provide the technological know-how to co-develop a digital platform that aims to enhance the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana. This allows them to manage and monitor in a more accurate, affordable and scalable manner. This is a strategic partnership and allows us to enhance CropIn's visibility in the African region.”

Anniek Schouten and Indra den Bakker, founders of the Dutch, noted, “Our drive for taking up the challenge was the opportunity to contribute to improving the sustainability of cocoa production and having a positive impact on the livelihoods of local communities together with partners such as the Rainforest Alliance.”

Daan de Vries, chief innovation and technology officer at Rainforest Alliance, said, “Their solutions will be very valuable to strengthen our value proposition for small farmers. At Rainforest Alliance, we drive sustainability transformation across millions of hectares globally, with a special focus on commodity sectors with large environmental, economic and social challenges.”

Around 50 organisations took part in the challenge submitting innovative remote-sensing data products to bolster digital work and generate data insights that benefit the cocoa farmers the Alliance works with on a global scale.