Four pupils of the Success Laventille Composite and St George’s College were awarded the winning prize on September 12 for the Trinidad leg of the Regional AgriHack Competition. The Form Four pupils Kris Adams, Mikaeel Andrews, Nicholai Rajkumar and Jairaj Singh call themselves ‘Team Agri-Info’. They were also adjudged the People’s Choice along with ‘Team Agriology’—an all-girls group from Success Laventille Composite School.
With some 24 players of four teams, the AgriHack Talent Caribbean is a Caribbean initiative for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Agriculture. Its main objective is to support the development of ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture by young people. Pupils were presented with six Caribbean challenges facing regional agriculture stakeholders from which to choose and tasked with developing an application to solve the problem. Their presentation included the elements of the problem, the proposed solution, the target audience for the application, clearly outlined benefits, and revenue streams.
“A marriage between agriculture and ICT’ is how one pupil described the competition. Another, speaking about the experience said ‘agriculture is cool…I am thinking about studying agri-science because of this.” Dr Arlington Chesney, Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute’s (CARDI) executive director spoke on the issue of the true value of agriculture, stating that ‘in agriculture, we need to have a new set of skills’; assuring the excited pupils that they have a “regional partner in CARDI”.
The other competing teams were ‘Team AgriTech’ with students of the University of Trinidad and Tobago and the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT); and pupils from Team Bishop’s Centenary.
The competition’s main partners are Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), CARDI and Microsoft; with the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago and CGA sponsors. The competition was hosted by Community HUB Corporation.
Competitions were held in Suriname by host Telesur Multimedia Innovation Laboratory on August 23. Five more will be held in Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica and St Kitts.
Attending the award ceremony were Frances Correira, Microsoft; Phillip Agostini, CGA; Gregg Rawlins, representative, IICA; Lisa Martinez, FAO; Gia Gaspard-Taylor, president, Network of Rural Women Producers (NRWP); and supporting teachers and parents.
The Trinidad and Tobago winners ‘Team Agri-Info’ will move on to the regional finals that will be held during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, scheduled for October 6-12 in Suriname, where they will compete for seed grants amounting to approximately TT$42,000, TT$33,500 and TT$25,000 for the first, second and third overall positions, respectively. There will also be post competition incubation and business support to the winning teams for a period of six months.