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Digitize Rural-Urban Agriculture

Faced with climate change and major food shortages, agriculture in African countries must increase their economic, environmental and social performance. Team up with the major IT-company Atos and collaborate with African farmers boosting their productivity to contribute to a sustainable development of African cities. Come up with new digital platform solutions that innovate farming in Africa!

#agritech #africanfarming #sustainableagriculture

  • ✅ Challenge completed
  • 🏁 Winner
    Congrats to CABI for winning the Challenge!
  • 🏆  Rewards
    EUR 3,000 per Challenge + funding programs with Atos, BMZ digilab and Make-IT Alliance + joint publication | For more see Tab “Rewards”
  • 🌎 Scope

    Open to participants from all over the world

Important details
About us



Empowering African farmers

The African continent has 65% of the arable land available on the planet, yet it spends 45 billion dollars each year on food imports. This figure could even reach 110 billion in 2025.

The paradox impressively demonstrates that agricultural production in Africa lags significantly behind other regions of the world.

Agriculture in Africa today relies mainly on family farming, which constitutes 60% of the working population and produces around 80% of the continent's food needs.

On the downside this form of farming is extremely unproductive. It generates losses of 20% to over 60% depending on the sector. On-top, the average age of family farmers today is between 50 and 55 years old. Both combined lead to the situation of Africa facing the risk of a major and ongoing food crisis in the next ten years.

These threats also have relevant implications for ongoing urbanization as a key driver of economic and social growth. This is because important interactions between urban and rural areas need to be considered for sustainable development

Almost all the food, water, raw materials and the like basic necessities of urban life are imported from rural areas. Hence, rural development should be the prime agenda in planning for national development in general and urban development. Productive rural agriculture also helps minimizing rural exodus and rapid urbanization which are the driver for many social issues in urban areas

Confronted with the already severe food shortages today and the advancing climate change, agriculture in African countries must increase its economic, environmental and social performance – and the time to act is now.


One major opportunity is using digitization to give farmers access to the formal value chain of the sector that concerns them, and thus structuring the entire ecosystem through the establishment of digital platform solutions. A platform for farmers which helps gathering data to optimize harvest, offers a resilient business and technical architecture or streamlines supply chains would then also contribute to a sustainable development of urban areas.


Access to knowledge, customers, employers, smart farming applications, agricultural management tools or financing opportunities. The starting points and chances are many and lead us to the following four key questions:

  • Which digital platform use cases and business models can significantly increase the productivity of small African farmers?
  • How can a platform embody local needs of farmers but also have open interfaces to be interoperable with other platforms?
  • How can a platform be integrated in smart city solutions e.g. with regards to sustainable food supply of cities, logistics and resilient supply chains from farmer to customer?
  • How can an open, adaptable digital platform that can be duplicated for different sectors or countries be built in the long-run?

Concerning the geographic focus, you can focus on the Sub-Saharan Area.

However, the scope of this Challenge is deliberately broad. Concrete solutions for specific use cases are sought as well as holistic framework concepts.

One possible and promising approach you can follow is to identify relevant problems of small farmers that hinder expanding their productivity e.g. in a specific agricultural sector, and to develop concrete use cases or holistic approaches for digital platform solutions on this basis.

No matter which path you choose always try to think of how your solution can be expanded or integrated in a broader platform in the long-run.

More inspiring input can be found in the tab “Important details” as well as “Submission”.

Innovate2030 – SDG11

This Challenge is part of the Innovate2030-SDG11 Innovation Program. The program is jointly initialized by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and its new lab for digital innovations – digilab – in collaboration with the Make-IT Alliance.

Questions or looking for support?

If you want to talk to someone from our team about your approaches, you need more information or questions arise, you are welcome to book a Q&A call with our project manager Nico or write to us anytime via the chat on this platform to your right.


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