Agriculture Innovation Hackathon held in Iraq

Three winners emerged at the Agriculture Innovation Hackathon that was held in the Nineveh region in Iraq.

Nineveh-based SMEs Nabu, BSF and Aero Plant stood out with their ideas for addressing the challenges of water scarcity and sustainable agriculture due to decreasing water levels in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and an outdated irrigation system.

  • Nabu: Focused on transforming excess tomato crops into valuable products, increasing farmers’ income, and reducing food waste.
  • BSF: Utilized black soldier fly larvae for organic waste disposal and production of organic fertilizer and animal feed, offering a sustainable solution to waste management and agriculture.
  • Aero Plant: Introduced a vertical aeroponics farming method that significantly reduces water usage, providing a sustainable solution for water scarcity and enhancing food security.

How can grants help?
Each of the winners was awarded a seed grant, approximately $350. The grants boost recipients with financial support and confidence to further develop their ideas. Once a prototype was produced, the three entrepreneurs had an opportunity to pitch again for $ 1750 large grant to implement one solution.

“The hackathon helped us develop a deeper understanding of the agricultural issues that exist in Nineveh Governorate, and the technical and logistical support had an impact on the success of the training we received from the Mosul Space Foundation. We were able to get to know other entrepreneurs, benefit from previous experiences and meet with international organizations and benefit from the available investment opportunities,” said Zaid Jaber, from the Nabu team who won the large grant.

Enabling a collaborative environment
The hackathon brought together 43 participants that included farmers, entrepreneurs, and technologists.

Teams were formed to exchange ideas and implement them on projects under two main themes: Agri-product value chain in Iraq, and water scarcity and management.

Facilitated by workshops and presentations, the atmosphere enabled the development of several solutions at the hackathon. Among the ideas developed, a mobile application for crop health monitoring using artificial intelligence and satellite imagery, and an IoT-based irrigation system to optimize water usage resonated with all.

“The hackathon had a great impact on developing our network. We benefited from the ideas that were presented, additionally, we met with professionals and academics who provided us with training that serves us, helps us develop our projects and trains us on strategies aimed at project growth,” said Karam Saad from Aero Plant.

The hackathon also demonstrated the potential of technology to address critical issues in agriculture, making a significant step towards sustainability and resilience in the face of environmental challenges.

This was an event implemented by Mosul Space and funded by the European Union through the International Trade Centre’s SAAVI project. This initiative aimed to harness innovative solutions to address local challenges, fostering a spirit of creativity and problem-solving among participants.