A Winning Team!

Dear Readers,

We’ve got great news to share this week! Firstly we’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the new Tech4agri team. Kareem Barnes, Suelin Novarro and Renaldo Matamoro agriyouth all based in Trinidad have joined our ranks to lend their skills to the development of the blog into a social enterprise.


It is from this new change that Tech4agri is a winner yet again! Renaldo and myself (Keron) teamed up for our first video and were then named honorable winners of the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean Media Awards on Water 2015 – Video Competition.

The competition which was open to all Caribbean nationals, sought to challenge participants to raise awareness on the importance of a dedicated ‪#‎watergoal‬ in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are being negotiated this year. Get to know more about the winners. And see our winning video below:

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TFF logo

It’s finally here!!!!

The 2015 Thought for Food Summit takes place today and Tech4Agri will be there live! The event is held in Lisbon, Portugal a beautiful city with rich culture, and food that serves as a prominent hub for entrepreneurship & innovation.

Meet the finalists

Hundreds of teams from universities all around the world entered the TFF Challenge, each diverse, motivated and brave enough to tackle the challenge of “How to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050?” Can you imagine the ingenuity coming out of such a competition!

From improving post harvest losses with the use of thermochromic and hydrochromic labels to an alternative meat product derived from insects; from roof top and vertical farming to community action and cooperative skill development these teams have applied science, technology, communication and simple innovation to create amazing ideas that can certainly contribute to solving this global problem of food availability and access.

Following their hard work the finalist teams had a stellar bootcamp where they developed their ideas even futher and practiced their eventual live pitch which will be held on the second day of the summit. The best to them all! View their projects at the TFF Website.

The TFF Challenge 2015 finalists at their development bootcamp. Picture courtesy Thought for Food

The TFF Challenge 2015 finalists at their development bootcamp. Picture courtesy Thought for Food

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What drives you to succeed?

As customary on Tech4agri , we take the time to feature agriyouth like many of us out there striving for success. Understanding success factors certainly helps one along the way but it is not an exact formula. What is clear is that one must have that drive to pursue what he or she is truly after, exhausting every opportunity, to ensure they accomplish their goals.

This week we feature Machel A. Emanuel, a Dominican born, PhD student at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica. Machel’s academic background  features a Bsc. Zoology & Botany, following that an Msc. Plant Production and Protection.

Over time Machel opted for an academic career within the university community which led to a specific research area in crop science with a focus on post harvest techniques. Mainly his work is devoted to the physiology and biochemistry of fresh tropical and sub-tropical fruits during the maturation, ripening and storage stages.

Furthermore Machel has conducted research on some fruits such as ackee (Blighia sapida), june plum (Spondias dulcis), carambola (Averrhoa carambola), otaheite apple (Syzygium malaccense), soursop (Annona muricata) and custard apple (Annona reticulate) with much of his work featured on Acta Horticulturae, an immense online repository of horticultural research information.

He is also well networked as a member of the International Society for Horticultural Sciences (ISHS) and certified as an Organic Farm Inspector by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

Currently Machel is expanding his career, knowledge and field experience even further as a visiting scholar at the Horticultural Science Department, University of Florida.

Truly a dedicated individual, one can clearly see his efforts to build his reputation within the academic world. Trends within this strategy centre on finding a balance of skills and  certified qualifications  while simultaneously exposing oneself to related fields of study followed by narrowing one’s focus.

In a brief interview with Tech4Agri Machel explains more his method and continued efforts in agriculture.


Phd Candidate Mr. Machel A. Emmanuel

Phd Candidate Mr. Machel A. Emmanuel

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-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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Time is one of the companions to success

A flashback reminds you of how far you have come.

It is always good to think back to your learning experiences, checking to see what you have learned and identifying your future direction. This week tech4agri features yet another growing youth in agriculture who has done just this.

Shenissa Pariag is a budding agricultural entrepreneur who in late 2013 earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship with first class honors. She has been a recipient of an award for outstanding academic performance on two occasions while pursuing her Bsc and was also on the dean’s honour roll. In addition she is an active member and works closely with the Agribusiness Society of the University of the West Indies serving as its Quality assurance officer for academic year 2012 -2013. Currently her efforts are partly geared towards the establishment of a business partnership, called Agriworks4U

In short, Shenissa is a budding entrepreneur and avid student; a stakeholder whose efforts, challenges and struggles are not known until she succeeds.

Shenissa Pariag - Budding Entrepreneur (Picture Position-Bottom left hand corner)

Shenissa Pariag – Budding Entrepreneur (Picture Position-Bottom left hand corner)

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