Ecuadorian youth develop virtual platform to overcome the pandemic and foster agricultural trade and rural tourism in Ecuador
San Jose, 31 August 2020 (IICA). - Five young innovators from Manabí, Ecuador, won IICA’s 2020 Hackathon by generating a user-friendly and innovative technological solution to overcome the issue of distance between producers and consumers in that country as a result of the pandemic.
The winners were selected from a total of 74 teams from across the hemisphere. Despite not having worked together previously and having limited Internet access, the members of the winning team succeeded in developing a tool that facilitates the marketing of products and fosters rural tourism.
The team was made up of computer engineering students Jorge Basurto, César Andrade, Francisco Marín and Carlos Saavedra, as well as Gabriel Sabando, who studies agricultural engineering. All of the team members attend the Polytechnic School of Agriculture of Manabí (ESPAM).
Their project consists of a platform in Spanish, English and Portuguese that contains photographs and information on producers, their locations, products they have for sale and other details.
This information will lay the groundwork for what the team has called “Ruta del Consumidor” (“The Consumer’s Route”), which will enable consumers to connect with producers that offer rural tourism services, as well as tour their farms under strict sanitary protocols.
The hackathon was jointly organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Ecuador, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), technology company SAP, Cenfotec University, Syngenta and Club AgTech.
“The hackathon will allow for developing a technological solution that can give greater visibility to agricultural production in our country, to support a prosperous, competitive, sustainable, innovative and high-quality agriculture sector”, stated Eddie Pesántez, Deputy Minister of Productive Agricultural Development of Ecuador.
Upon receiving the USD 3,500 prize, the winners of the competition highlighted the valuable opportunity to contribute to Ecuador’s well-being amidst the pandemic, by supporting a sector as crucial as agriculture.
“This was a great experience. The lectures were very enriching and made the issues at hand very clear”, remarked César Andrade.
Experts from the institutions that organized the event provided each participating group with individual support, transmitting their knowledge of and experience with technological solutions to bolster their innovative ideas.
“With support from the specialists, we were able to gain in-depth knowledge of the issues and better connect to those topics, in order to develop the project in the best way possible while meeting all the necessary technical requirements”, explained Gabriel Sabando.
“Linking youth to agriculture and bringing technological innovations to the field is key for sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean, and even more so within the context of the pandemic. The issues of digital agriculture, innovation, youth and gender are priorities for IICA, and they all come together in this project. Agriculture is, and will continue to be, a crucial sector”, stated Manuel Otero, Director General of IICA.
Learn more about the winning project here (Spanish only):
Emmanuel Picado, Manager of the Information/Communication Technologies and Digital Agriculture Division of IICA.