Bayer East Africa and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) have selected the top 20 students with the best innovations, out of the 60 who applied for the Bayer Innovation Competition.
The competition which was launched in June this year, was targeted at students from the various disciplines who were invited to provide innovative solutions for smallholder farmers.
Speaking during the announcement held at JKUAT, Bayer East Africa Head of Communications and Public Affairs reiterated the company’s commitment towards creating value through innovation. “At Bayer East Africa, we pride ourselves in helping farmers get value through innovation, and that was our motivation when we launched this competition in partnership with JKUAT. We are particularly proud of the innovations by the students so far and we look forward to seeing who emerges top”, said Anthony.
(TOP: The top 20 students selected in the ongoing Bayer Innovation Competition by Bayer East Africa and JKUAT University to source for the best innovative solutions for small holder farmers in Kenya pose with officials from Bayer East Africa and JKUAT University. The 20 have qualified to enter the next round of the competition where they will pitch their ideas to their jury).
The top students with the best innovative ideas were selected by a Jury made up of seven members including Bayer staff members and JKUAT lecturers. The sixty proposals that were sent included a one-page concept note which highlighted basically what one’s innovation was all about and which of the four major problems their concept was going to address. Out of the 60, the best 20 were selected and were announced on August 2, 2018 at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) main campus in Juja. The criteria that was used to come up with this list was based on how idealist the innovation is and how the idea and innovation will help solve the four major problems that small holder farmers in Africa face.
The selected students will have to present a detailed project proposal in one month’s time and pitch it to the Jury so that they can come up with the best three. On September 21, 2018, the top three will be named where the winner will have a chance to go to Germany for a six month industrial attachment and exchange program; whereas the second will get an opportunity to intern at Bayer East Africa for three months and the third will walk away with fifty thousand Kenya Shillings. All the top three contenders will work in conjunction with Bayer East Africa to implement their innovative ideas to ultimately provide solutions for smallholder farmers.
Bayer is committed to achieving food security and improved nutrition by providing innovative solutions for sustainable agriculture. Through an array of interventions, Bayer has continued to develop sustainable business models for reaching millions of smallholder farmers in Kenya by 2030, by facilitating access to financing, healthy seeds, crop insurance, and education across board from agricultural best practices to marketing and entrepreneurship. Smallholder farmers face four major challenges: access to credit, availability of markets, crop protection and appropriate farming methods.
More than 60 percent of the food in Kenya is produced on smallholder farms. And on the other hand, Africa faces the biggest challenges in terms of the general livelihood, which in turn means that even a small increase in income for a farmer and his family has a direct impact on the fulfillment of basic needs such as education and healthcare. Improving the situation of smallholder farmers in Africa thus becomes a driver for the overall development of the whole continent.