Our 2015 Photo Story

Mic...check Script..check Scene...check Let's do this story!

Let’s do this story!

We’ve come to the end of another year! This time around we had some ups and downs. And we think it best to give you the highlights of our blog, our web series and our colleagues, as we wish you and yours all the best for the season and happy and prosperous New year!

Do ensure this photo story!

We started the year with our usual tech topics such as robotic farming, renewable energies and bringing old techniques back into modern production. It truly is astonishing what exists out there in the world both simple and complex technologies and sciences which make agriculture interesting to us youth. But behind all of this are people…young people!

Tech4agri at TFF

Growing out TFF community - Photo courtesy Thought for Food

Growing out TFF community – Photo courtesy Thought for Food

In came the Thought for Food Challenge and summit where we met some of the greatest and most enthusiastic young minds in food and agriculture today. The event was truly motivating having been introduced and are still in contact with finalist teams and other participants.

Tech4agri: the podcast that failed...but it will return!

Tech4agri: the podcast that failed…but it will return!

Then came a bright shining light and complete failure….well it depends on how you look at it. Tech4agri launched its very own podcast. We got some great feedback from you, our followers but reality hit, in that we just could not keep it up. When delivering our stories we want great quality and interesting content. While the podcast was great we found it difficult to find the type of content we needed while simultaneously handling our other projects. It lasted three episodes but it’s not dead it will return!

Tech4agri Team

Tech4agri Team

As an entrepreneur, failure is ever present. So Tech4agri regrouped and focused on what was needed to get its long planned web series off the ground! We finally got our team together! Meet our team again!

Agri journalists of Tech4agri

Agri journalists of Tech4agri

We started our work in  agri journalism and got great feedback with our mini documentary Agripeople! #Motivation

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: The 2015 Online News Association Conference at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on September 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Daniel Petty/for ONA)

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 25: The 2015 Online News Association Conference at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on September 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Daniel Petty/for ONA)


Again we were #winners having earned a fellowship to the Online News Association conference for 2015 held in Los Angeles. We were humbled to be selected as one of the best early career young digital journalists for the event. #mindblown at all the tech we learned of that can be used for journalism!

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Forward Onward Ahead – Tech4agri shines again

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: The 2015 Online News Association Conference at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on September 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Daniel Petty/for ONA)

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 25: The 2015 Online News Association Conference at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on September 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Daniel Petty/for ONA)

We are edging closer and closer to our launch for tech4agri: the Web series!

We’re diligently working on getting this series up online by Nov 2nd. Hope you are following our progress via instagram, twitter and facebook. Due to our focus on the series, our blog has suffered. Fortunately this is a positive rather than a negative as there is no straight line to success.

You, our readers may be unaware but Tech4agri faces a large number of challenges in terms of limited resources, time management and plain old failed business ventures. Regardless, through perseverance we have made successes and we are happy to tell you about two of them:

Winner yet again!

We are happy to have experience the amazing event that was the Online News Association conference!

Years ago, one of the driving forces behind this US based organization, Ms. MJ Bear, foresaw the important role the digital media would play in the future of journalism and spearheaded a fellowship for early career digital journalists. Unfortunately MJ passed away, however her colleagues saw it fit to bring the fellowship into a reality.

This fellowship allows young journalists with exceptional projects and work experience to be sponsored to attend the conference. Tech4agri with our web series and past resume of work was fortunate to among the chosen few. Learn more of our project and that of the other fellows.

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Challenges to Replicating & Scaling up: ICT4Ag Projects

The Panel of the CTA organized seminar on Scaling up ICT projects in Agriculture at the CWA 2014. Photo by Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i (@WIBDI_Samoa)

In the course of the activities of Tech4agri there has been heavy engagement with young entrepreneurs in the field that utilize a variety of ICTs in their agriculture projects. However they face challenges that prevent the progress of these projects.

Hurdles to overcome

Major amongst these challenges is lack of agri knowledge. While the majority of youth are tech savy and forward thinking, case in point the young developers of the Agrihack Talent Competition, a background in any field of study related to agriculture is missing. As a result apps, products and services that are developed using ICTs are not an exact fit for end users.

Who they are specifically, their problems,their needs and their capabilities in terms of understanding ICTs are all questions that should be answered prior, during and after development. Feedback from end users and partnerships with relevant stakeholders is key.

From the presentations given by the app developers aforementioned competition at the CWA 2014, it is clear that they have recognized this challenge with some having already taken steps to overcome it.

Linked to this is another issue that lies in a general disconnect with local and regional agriculture. Within sectors or fields of study, there exist rigid lines of separation, so that persons who have a great interest agriculture but are of a different background lose their initiative in our all important sector due to a lack of support services.

In the case of tech4agri emphasis has been placed on securing start up funds via open business competitions both at the national and regional level. However all applications thus far have failed. Despite this, within  the agricultural diaspora tech4agri has done well, winning several awards building social currency, a good reputation, and representing the youth voice in agriculture.

Is it that tech4agri lacks something in particular or that general business experts are similarly detached from agriculture?

Moving forward

Despite these challenges the opportunities for scaling up are available. There has been an overall push towards the establishment of ICT hubs, tech centers and business incubators however there is room for some specification towards agri related enterprises.

Additionally the number of educational programmes, for youth in Agri, ICT or otherwise within the Caribbean is quite significant, but therein lies the problem.  These programmes can certainly be partly diversified, exposing students to other fields which can contribute to efforts in scaling up in the future.

Such an action would be more sustainable in comparison to yearly or one off events that foster a limited number of projects chosen for support; granted those projects are the cream of the crop.

Lastly many of us are aware of the chronic problems of organization and implementation that face the caribbean. If we can ensure the sustainability of programmes and initiatives which continually support youth, ICT for agri projects and agribusiness much greater benefit for the overall sector can be achieved.


-Taking Business Forward-

David Thomas of 'D Market Movers"based in Trinidad and Tobago, takes an opportunity to ask questions and learn today's trending company concepts for his agribusiness.

David Thomas of ‘D Market Movers”based in Trinidad and Tobago, takes an opportunity to ask questions and learn today’s trending company concepts for his agribusiness.


There are 8 finalist in the Agrihack Talent Competition. Prior to this there were dozens of applicants with potential apps for agri. Outside of that the number of mobile content is certainly increasing throughout the Caribbean. Driving such content are the end users who demand such products. With so many new and interesting products and services available, are developers in a position to create businesses to promote and sell them effectively while simultaneously managing the technically difficult task of app creation?

Raising Captial

The CTA ARDYIS programme and other partners for the competition have realized this pivotal factor and have made steps to ensure that the budding young developers are able to effectively create a sustainable business based on their app creations.

Mckenzie Slaughter, Judge of Agrihack, founder and CEO of the Prohaus Group provided meaningful and quite sensible tips in meeting investors and the needs of business angels. (Presentation via dropbox) Apart from seeking grants, or governmental assistance Slaughter recommends that start-ups and growing businesses should harness the resources of angel investors; high profile individuals with investment dollars. This term is certainly known to tech4agri having been featured as part of the entrepreneurial world in previous posts. Some tips provided include:

  1. Preparation of a concise business plan of 10 pages maximum. Investors are simply not interested in reading a book!
  2. Evaluate your start up and know your strengths and weakness. A common but vital aspect of business management.
  3. Build traction. No business can function with out a solid customer base
  4. Ensure that solidity can also be found in a business’s management team.

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Keeping up to date: Old news is good news

How do you manage your information?

Where does your information come from? Given today’s connectedness on a global scale, mobile, internet and other communication technology reign supreme. What is even more impressive is the speed. Have you ever timed yourself to see how fast you can send a whatsapp message?

Through such quick communication valuable information can be shared. If passing knowledge along takes place instantly then it is only logical to think that the volume of information is likely to increase…and it certainly has! Everyday many of us receive over 50 emails, send hundreds of text messages and view thousands of megabytes of content on the internet.

This leads to an immense overflow of information that comes to you. which you either filter and use or pass on to others. For many of the forward thinking youth in agriculture it becomes a burden; endlessly checking your phone or computer, tirelessly trying to stay up to date on the latests happenings and this does not count your proactive efforts to search for needed information.

How to solve this problem?

Unfortunately there is none…at least none that we all know of. Each of us has our own system, our networks and groups and we each figure out our own way to manage this information.

Even so one way to handle this situation is to focus on specific groups and online communities particularly those found on social media. Blogs such as tech4agri can definitely assist you in keeping up to date.

In your effort to stay dedicated to agriculture it is imperative that you keep up with the opportunities and new information that is out there for the taking.

Old news is still good news!

Now that we understand the ‘problem’ of the information glut, tech4agri is here to help. Here is a summary of the latest technologies in agriculture. This piece represents the future of agriculture and it is not far off. Most of these technologies may just become common items and essential ones at that, within our lifetimes. For now, prototypes and research efforts are key in ensuring the efficiency, usability and other factors that would make these technologies all powerful.

Edyn. connecting people to plants…literally!

Edyn is a modern-design solar powered garden sensor and water valve. The idea is that using Bluetooth and a house’s WiFi, the devices will feed data straight from the soil to your phone in order to monitor tomatoes, basil or whatever else is in the garden. Sensors test the soil. For the water valve, if the crops are getting a little dry, tap a few buttons on the iPhone from work and give them a drink, or the software does so automatically.

The Edyn: Courtesy Modernfarmer.com

The Edyn: Courtesy Modernfarmer.com

The target demo of Edyn: Busy folks that have an interest in fresh produce but can’t always get to their garden. “A lot of people are passionate about food but simply don’t have the time,” says CEO Jason Aramburu.

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