Meet the shortlisted candidates of the Resilient Agriculture Innovations for Nature (RAIN) Challenge

Ten seed-level initiatives have been selected and over the next six months will work in collaboration with GRP to become businesses of interest to investors and funders. The RAIN Challenge is a joint effort with GRP and Shockwave Foundation.

GRP, together with Shockwave Foundation, launched the Resilient Agriculture Innovations for Nature (RAIN) Challenge at the COP27 Resilience Hub on 12 November 2022. The RAIN Challenge sets out to identify new innovative agricultural initiatives working to advance resilience and adaptation in East Africa. Ten seed-level initiatives were chosen through a rigorous selection process and over the next six months will work in collaboration with GRP to become businesses of interest to investors and funders. 

Each of the shortlisted initiatives leverage the creativity of their respective communities and have innovative approaches to meet their specific needs. The RAIN Challenge will support them by providing a tailored mentoring program and communications tools to strengthen their messaging and prepare them to pitch to investors. 

Meet the shortlisted candidates! 

Project:  Farm to Feed
Company: Farm to Feed Kenya Limited
Country: Kenya

Founded as a COVID emergency relief program, Farm to Feed grew to become a more self-sustaining social enterprise focused on the reduction of food waste. They address this challenge by utilising a digital platform to connect buyers to farmers with surplus produce. Farm to Feed works to advance community resilience by creating cost-effective and sustainable practices in local agriculture.

Project: Enhancing Climate Resilience and Women’s Economic Empowerment
Company: Moyo District Farmers’ Association (MDFA)
Country: Uganda

This project aims to strengthen climate resilience of smallholder farmers by developing an app to assess climate risks. The app will provide accurate data to track climate-related issues and thus enable smallholder farmers to implement nature-based climate adaptation solutions. It will provide data that farmers can utilize in their efforts to operate gender-responsive climate-smart production, conserve trees, and restore degraded landscapes. The project aims to promote food security by strengthening production in both in-season and off-season through mini-irrigations. 
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Project: Smart Beehives in Agroforestry
Company: Germark Holdings Limited
Country: Tanzania

Based on the Internet of Things (IOT)—physical objects that are embedded with technology to connect and exchange data—the project utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI) to monitor the behaviour of bees to determine environmental disturbances that may prevent them from acting as agents of pollination. Community landowners provide rental space for beehives in return for improved crop production supported by increased plant pollination by the bees. Beehives will be leased to members of the community, mainly those who do not own land such as women and young people. The lease will last for 24 months where IOT technology will be used to collect environmental data. This data will subsequently be shared with farmers to make informed decisions.

Project:  One Farmer Project
Company: Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence (AICE)
Country: Kenya

The AI Centre of Excellence, in partnership with Adanian Labs and United AI Alliance, aims to provide climate change insights that will support smallholder farmers and promote climate action. With the use of IOT devices, the project intends to collect real-time data, consolidate it, and use it for predictive analysis. The insights drawn from the predictions will be shared with farmers to help them adapt to foreseen climatic changes and take necessary action for their crops. In the long run, this will help mitigate possible losses and boost production amidst the changing climate.

Project: VERMIFARM: Vermicomposting for Sustainable Production of Organic Fertilizer Rwanda 
Company: Rwanda Environment and Cultural Organization (RECO) 
Country: Rwanda

This project puts into practice vermicomposting, a process that uses earthworms to transform organic waste into compost. It is known to be as effective as organic fertilizer for crop production. Vermicomposting recycles food waste and produces a sustainable organic fertilizer that enhances soil regeneration and promotes environmentally friendly agriculture. The organic fertilizer from vermicomposting increases the soil’s organic matter and promotes long-term fertility for sustainable crop production. 

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Project: Rearing Cottages for Parasitoids 
Company: Xylemtech Company Limited
Country: Tanzania

Beneficial parasitoids are insects that attack crop pests by breaking and overtaking their life cycle. This project aims to establish production cottages in farming communities to multiply and release parasitoids that will attack various crop pests. Project leads will produce and sell parasitoids to farmers in the local community with the aim to promote sustainable farming processes and reduce the use of chemical pesticides.

Project: System of Rice Intensification (SRI) 
Company: Nile Interconsults Uganda Ltd
Country: Uganda

System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a proven alternative rice growing method that enables rice farmers to cope with the adverse effects of climate change and actively participate in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. SRI relies on intermittent irrigation and draining of water to avoid anaerobic conditions and the subsequent emission of methane. Additionally, SRI is estimated to reduce freshwater use in rice cultivation by approximately 50%. It also reduces production costs and is a tool for promoting food security as it increases income for local farmers.

Project: Ecorich Solutions 
Company: Moyo District Farmers’ Association (MDFA)
Country: Uganda

Ecorich Solutions aims to develop artificial intelligence-based food waste decomposer devices that will only take three days to convert household waste into affordable organic fertilizers. This is projected to be 70% cheaper than normal fertilizers and thus will be more accessible to smallholder farmers. The food waste decomposers will be distributed in urban settlements in Kenya where the majority of dumpsites are full of food waste that directly expose communities to food and waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

Project: Early Crop Pests and Crop Disease Detection Device 
Company: Farmer Lifeline Technologies
Country: Kenya

The project leads developed an AI device to detect and predict crop diseases and crop pests. A solar-powered camera scans and captures images of crops on a farm periodically, if a disease or a pest is detected the device alerts farmers via text message. The alerts provide information on the type of diseases or pests detected and gives recommendations for the most sustainable ways to address them. 

Project: Roads for Nature-Positive Farming
Company: MetaMeta Limited
Country: Kenya

ECRAAP works to implement sustainable land management strategies such as agroforestry and climate-smart farming to improve agricultural production and advance climate resilience. The project will collaborate with community-based organizations (CBOs), and common interest groups (CIGs) to conduct capacity building, land-and-resource management planning, sustainable agricultural production, and reforestation.