IT firm Cisco India on Friday announced a competition with a prize money of Rs 2 crore, as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, to find agri-tech start-ups with innovative solutions. The ‘Cisco Agri Challenge’ is being co-hosted by K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, while conceptualised and managed by NGO — ‘The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation’, it said in a statement. With a prize purse of Rs 2 crore, the challenge will run in stages over 12 months. This amount supports participants in developing, testing, and scaling solutions that help alleviate the issues of low income and diminishing profitability farmers in India are facing, it added.
“Such a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaboration will play a catalytic role in implementing scientific and technological interventions in agriculture, thereby improving farmers’ productivity and doubling farmers’ income,” VijayRaghavan said. Cisco India and SAARC Managing Director (Public Affairs and Strategic Engagements) Harish Krishnan said the company aims to accelerate digital transformation in the agriculture sector through the ‘Cisco Agri Challenge’ platform. “We are not only incubating agri-tech start-ups, but also bringing together a powerful ecosystem of investors, domain experts, and government stakeholders to galvanize action and bring to market scalable solutions that can help boost farmers’ incomes and improve their decision-making,” he said.
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Cisco said it will have a policy circle, enabling access to administrative units and communities for pilots.